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Junípero Serra

Junípero Serra

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Blessed
Beatification
Beatification is a recognition accorded by the Catholic Church of a dead person's entrance into Heaven and capacity to intercede on behalf of individuals who pray in his or her name . Beatification is the third of the four steps in the canonization process...

 Junípero Serra, O.F.M., (xuˈnipeɾo ˈsera, dʒuːnɨˈpɛroʊ ˈsɛrə), known as Fra Juníper Serra in Catalan
Catalan language
Catalan is a Romance language, the national and only official language of Andorra and a co-official language in the Spanish autonomous communities of Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and Valencian Community, where it is known as Valencian , as well as in the city of Alghero, on the Italian island...

, his mother tongue (ʒuˈnipər ˈsɛrə) (November 24, 1713 – August 28, 1784) was a Majorcan
Mallorca
Majorca or Mallorca is an island located in the Mediterranean Sea, one of the Balearic Islands.The capital of the island, Palma, is also the capital of the autonomous community of the Balearic Islands. The Cabrera Archipelago is administratively grouped with Majorca...

 Franciscan
Franciscan
Most Franciscans are members of Roman Catholic religious orders founded by Saint Francis of Assisi. Besides Roman Catholic communities, there are also Old Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, ecumenical and Non-denominational Franciscan communities....

 friar
Friar
A friar is a member of one of the mendicant orders.-Friars and monks:...

 who founded the mission
Spanish missions in California
The Spanish missions in California comprise a series of religious and military outposts established by Spanish Catholics of the Franciscan Order between 1769 and 1823 to spread the Christian faith among the local Native Americans. The missions represented the first major effort by Europeans to...

 chain in Alta California
Alta California
Alta California was a province and territory in the Viceroyalty of New Spain and later a territory and department in independent Mexico. The territory was created in 1769 out of the northern part of the former province of Las Californias, and consisted of the modern American states of California,...

 of the Las Californias
Las Californias
The Californias, or in — - was the name given by the Spanish to their northwestern territory of New Spain, comprising the present day states of Baja California and Baja California Sur on the Baja California Peninsula in Mexico; and the present day U.S. state of California in the United States of...

 Province in New Spain
New Spain
New Spain, formally called the Viceroyalty of New Spain , was a viceroyalty of the Spanish colonial empire, comprising primarily territories in what was known then as 'América Septentrional' or North America. Its capital was Mexico City, formerly Tenochtitlan, capital of the Aztec Empire...

—present day California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. Fr. Serra was beatified
Beatification
Beatification is a recognition accorded by the Catholic Church of a dead person's entrance into Heaven and capacity to intercede on behalf of individuals who pray in his or her name . Beatification is the third of the four steps in the canonization process...

 by Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II
Blessed Pope John Paul II , born Karol Józef Wojtyła , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of Vatican City from 16 October 1978 until his death on 2 April 2005, at of age. His was the second-longest documented pontificate, which lasted ; only Pope Pius IX ...

 on September 25, 1988.

History


Serra was born Miquel Josep Serra i Ferrer in Petra, Majorca, Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

. On September 14, 1730, he entered the Alcantarine Franciscans, a reform movement in the Order, and took the name "Juniper" in honor of Saint Juniper
Saint Juniper
Saint Juniper , called "the renowned jester of the Lord," was one of the original followers of Saint Francis of Assisi. Not much is known about Juniper before he joined the friars. In 1210, he was received into the order of the Franciscans by St. Francis himself. "Would to God, my brothers, I...

, who had also been a Franciscan and a companion of Saint Francis
Francis of Assisi
Saint Francis of Assisi was an Italian Catholic friar and preacher. He founded the men's Franciscan Order, the women’s Order of St. Clare, and the lay Third Order of Saint Francis. St...

. For his proficiency in studies he was appointed lector
Lector
Lector is a Latin term for one who reads, whether aloud or not. In modern languages the word has come to take various forms, as either a development or a loan, such as , , and . It has various specialized uses:...

 of philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

 before his ordination
Ordination
In general religious use, ordination is the process by which individuals are consecrated, that is, set apart as clergy to perform various religious rites and ceremonies. The process and ceremonies of ordination itself varies by religion and denomination. One who is in preparation for, or who is...

 to the Catholic priesthood. Later he received a doctorate
Doctorate
A doctorate is an academic degree or professional degree that in most countries refers to a class of degrees which qualify the holder to teach in a specific field, A doctorate is an academic degree or professional degree that in most countries refers to a class of degrees which qualify the holder...

 in theology
Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

 from the Lullian University in Palma de Mallorca, where he also occupied the Duns Scotus
Duns Scotus
Blessed John Duns Scotus, O.F.M. was one of the more important theologians and philosophers of the High Middle Ages. He was nicknamed Doctor Subtilis for his penetrating and subtle manner of thought....

 chair of philosophy until he joined the missionary College of San Fernando de Mexico
College of San Fernando de Mexico
The College of San Fernando de Mexico was a Roman Catholic Franciscan missionary college, or seminary , founded in Mexico City by the Order of Friars Minor on October 15, 1734...

 in 1749.

That year he journeyed to North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

, first to Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

, where he taught. Father Juniper refused to ride the mule that was provided him and walked from Veracruz
Veracruz, Veracruz
Veracruz, officially known as Heroica Veracruz, is a major port city and municipality on the Gulf of Mexico in the Mexican state of Veracruz. The city is located in the central part of the state. It is located along Federal Highway 140 from the state capital Xalapa, and is the state's most...

 to the capital. He was bitten by a snake and suffered from it throughout his life, though he continued to make his journeys on foot whenever necessary. He requested a transfer to the Sierra Gorda Indian Missions
Franciscan Missions in the Sierra Gorda
The Franciscan Missions of the Sierra Gorda in the Mexican state of Querétaro were declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in 2003. They are credited to Junípero Serra of the Franciscan Order, who also founded important missions in Alta California....

 some 90 miles north of Santiago de Querétaro, where he spent about nine years. During this time, he served as the mission's superior
Prior
Prior is an ecclesiastical title, derived from the Latin adjective for 'earlier, first', with several notable uses.-Monastic superiors:A Prior is a monastic superior, usually lower in rank than an Abbot. In the Rule of St...

, learned the language of the Pame
Pame
The Pame are an indigenous people of central Mexico living in the state of San Luis Potosí. They call themselves Xi'úi. They speak the Pame language, which belongs to the Oto-Pamean group of the Oto-Manguean language family....

 Indians, and translated the catechism
Catechism
A catechism , i.e. to indoctrinate) is a summary or exposition of doctrine, traditionally used in Christian religious teaching from New Testament times to the present...

 into their language. Recalled to Mexico City, he became famous as a most fervent and effective preacher of missions. His zeal frequently led him to employ extraordinary means in order to move the people to penance: he would pound his breast with a stone while in the pulpit, scourge
Scourge
A scourge is a whip or lash, especially a multi-thong type used to inflict severe corporal punishment or self-mortification on the back.-Description:...

 himself, or apply a lit torch to his bare chest. He established ten missions including Velicata.


In 1768, Father Serra was appointed superior of a band of 15 Franciscans for the Indian Missions of Baja California
Baja California
Baja California officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Baja California is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is both the northernmost and westernmost state of Mexico. Before becoming a state in 1953, the area was known as the North...

. The Franciscans took over the administration of the missions on the Baja California Peninsula
Baja California Peninsula
The Baja California peninsula , is a peninsula in northwestern Mexico. Its land mass separates the Pacific Ocean from the Gulf of California. The Peninsula extends from Mexicali, Baja California in the north to Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur in the south.The total area of the Baja California...

 from the Jesuits
Society of Jesus
The Society of Jesus is a Catholic male religious order that follows the teachings of the Catholic Church. The members are called Jesuits, and are also known colloquially as "God's Army" and as "The Company," these being references to founder Ignatius of Loyola's military background and a...

 after King Carlos III
Charles III of Spain
Charles III was the King of Spain and the Spanish Indies from 1759 to 1788. He was the eldest son of Philip V of Spain and his second wife, the Princess Elisabeth Farnese...

 ordered them forcibly expelled from New Spain
New Spain
New Spain, formally called the Viceroyalty of New Spain , was a viceroyalty of the Spanish colonial empire, comprising primarily territories in what was known then as 'América Septentrional' or North America. Its capital was Mexico City, formerly Tenochtitlan, capital of the Aztec Empire...

 on February 3, 1768. Serra became the "Father Presidente." On March 12, 1768, Serra embarked from the Pacific port of San Blas
San Blas, Nayarit
San Blas is both a municipality and municipal seat located on the Pacific coast of Mexico in the state of Nayarit.-City:San Blas is a port and a popular tourist destination, located about 100 miles north of Puerto Vallarta, and 40 miles west of the state capital Tepic. The town has a population of...

 on his way to the Californias. Early in the year 1769, he accompanied Governor
Governor
A governor is a governing official, usually the executive of a non-sovereign level of government, ranking under the head of state...

 Gaspar de Portolà
Gaspar de Portolà
Gaspar de Portolà i Rovira was a soldier, governor of Baja and Alta California , explorer and founder of San Diego and Monterey. He was born in Os de Balaguer, province of Lleida, in Catalonia, Spain, of Catalan nobility. Don Gaspar served as a soldier in the Spanish army in Italy and Portugal...

 on his expedition to Alta California
Portola expedition
250px|right|Point of San Francisco Bay DiscoveryThe Portolá Expedition was led by Gaspar de Portolá from July 14, 1769 to January 24, 1770. It was the first recorded Spanish land entry and exploration of present day California, United States...

. On the way, he established the Misión San Fernando Rey de España de Velicatá
Misión San Fernando Rey de España de Velicatá
Located in Baja California, Mexico about 200 miles south of Ensenada, Misión San Fernando Rey de España de Velicatá was the only mission founded by Franciscans in Baja California....

 on May 14 (the only Franciscan mission in all of Baja California). When the party reached San Diego
San Diego, California
San Diego is the eighth-largest city in the United States and second-largest city in California. The city is located on the coast of the Pacific Ocean in Southern California, immediately adjacent to the Mexican border. The birthplace of California, San Diego is known for its mild year-round...

 on July 1, Father Serra stayed behind to start the Mission San Diego de Alcalá
Mission San Diego de Alcalá
Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá, in San Diego, California, was the first Franciscan mission in the Las Californias Province of the Viceroyalty of New Spain. It was founded in 1769 by Spanish friar Junípero Serra in an area long inhabited by the Kumeyaay Indians...

, the first of the 21 California missions (including the nearby Visita de la Presentación
Visita de la Presentación
During their brief presence in Baja California, the Franciscans established Visita de la Presentación, a subordinate mission station for San Javier, about 16 kilometers south of that mission, west of Loreto in Baja California Sur....

, also founded under Serra's leadership).

Junipero Serra moved to the area that is now Monterey
Monterey, California
The City of Monterey in Monterey County is located on Monterey Bay along the Pacific coast in Central California. Monterey lies at an elevation of 26 feet above sea level. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 27,810. Monterey is of historical importance because it was the capital of...

 in 1770, and founded Mission San Carlos Borroméo de Carmelo
Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo
Mission San Carlos Borroméo del río Carmelo, also known as the Carmel Mission, is a Roman Catholic mission church in Carmel, California. It is on the National Register of Historic Places and a U.S...

. He remained there as "Father Presidente" of the Alta California
Alta California
Alta California was a province and territory in the Viceroyalty of New Spain and later a territory and department in independent Mexico. The territory was created in 1769 out of the northern part of the former province of Las Californias, and consisted of the modern American states of California,...

 missions. In 1771, Fr. Serra relocated the mission to Carmel
Carmel-by-the-Sea, California
Carmel-by-the-Sea, often called simply Carmel, is a small city in Monterey County, California, United States, founded in 1902 and incorporated in 1916. Situated on the Monterey Peninsula, the town is known for its natural scenery and rich artistic history...

, which became known as "Mission Carmel" and served as his headquarters. Under his presidency were founded Mission San Antonio de Padua
Mission San Antonio de Padua
Mission San Antonio de Padua was founded on July 14, 1771, the third mission founded in Alta California by Father Presidente Junípero Serra, and site of the first Christian marriage and first use of fired-tile roofing in Upper California.-History:...

, Mission San Gabriel Arcángel
Mission San Gabriel Arcángel
The Mission San Gabriel Arcángel is a fully functioning Roman Catholic mission and a historic landmark in San Gabriel, California. The settlement was founded by Spaniards of the Franciscan order on "The Feast of the Birth of Mary," September 8, 1771, as the fourth of what would become 21 Spanish...

, Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa
Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa
Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa was founded 1772 on the Central Coast of California on a site located halfway between Santa Barbara and Monterey. It was named after Saint Louis of Anjou, the bishop of Toulouse. The Mission church of San Luis Obispo is unusual in its design in that its...

, Mission San Juan Capistrano
Mission San Juan Capistrano
Mission San Juan Capistrano was a Spanish mission in Southern California, located in present-day San Juan Capistrano. It was founded on All Saints Day November 1, 1776, by Spanish Catholics of the Franciscan Order...

, Mission San Francisco de Asís
Mission San Francisco de Asís
Mission San Francisco de Asís, or Mission Dolores, is the oldest surviving structure in San Francisco and the sixth religious settlement established as part of the California chain of missions...

, Mission Santa Clara de Asís
Mission Santa Clara de Asís
Mission Santa Clara de Asís was founded on January 12, 1777 and named for Santa Clara de Asis , the foundress of the order of the Poor Clares. Although ruined and rebuilt six times, the settlement was never abandoned.-History:...

, and Mission San Buenaventura
Mission San Buenaventura
Mission San Buenaventura was founded on Easter Sunday, March 31, 1782 in Las Californias, part of the Spanish Viceroyalty of New Spain. Named for a Franciscan theologian, Saint Bonaventure, it was the last of the missions founded by Father Serra...

. Fr. Serra was also present at the founding of the Presidio of Santa Barbara
Presidio of Santa Barbara
The El Presidio Real de Santa Bárbara, also known as the Royal Presidio of Santa Barbara, was a military installation in Santa Barbara, California. It was built by Spain in 1782, with the mission of defending the Second Military District in California...

 on April 21, 1782, but was prevented from locating the mission there because of the animosity of Governor Felipe de Neve
Felipe de Neve
Felipe de Neve was a Spanish governor of Las Californias, an area that included present-day California , Baja California and Baja California Sur . His tenure as governor was from 1775 to 1782...

.

In 1773, difficulties with Pedro Fages
Pedro Fages
Pere Fages Beleta , nicknamed L'Ós , was a soldier, explorer, and the second Spanish military Governor of Las Californias Province of New Spain from 1770 to 1774, and the Governor of Las Californias from 1782 to 1791.-Life:...

, the military commander, compelled Father Serra to travel to Mexico City to argue before Viceroy Antonio María de Bucareli y Ursúa
Antonio María de Bucareli y Ursúa
Antonio María de Bucareli y Ursúa, marqués de Valleheroso y conde de Jerena was a Spanish military officer, governor of Cuba, and viceroy of New Spain .-Beginning of his administration:He was governor of Cuba when he was named viceroy...

 for the removal of Fages as the Governor of California Nueva. At the capital of Mexico, by order of Viceroy Bucareli, he printed up Representación in 32 articles. Bucareli ruled in Father Serra's favor on 30 of the 32 charges brought against Fages, and removed him from office in 1774, after which time Father Serra returned to California. In 1778, Fr. Serra was given dispensation
Dispensation (Catholic Church)
In the canon law of the Roman Catholic Church, a dispensation is the suspension by competent authority of general rules of law in particular cases...

 to administer the sacrament
Sacrament
A sacrament is a sacred rite recognized as of particular importance and significance. There are various views on the existence and meaning of such rites.-General definitions and terms:...

 of confirmation for the faithful in California. After he had exercised his privilege for a year, governor Felipe de Neve
Felipe de Neve
Felipe de Neve was a Spanish governor of Las Californias, an area that included present-day California , Baja California and Baja California Sur . His tenure as governor was from 1775 to 1782...

 directed him to suspend administering the sacrament until he could present the papal brief. For nearly two years Father Serra refrained, and then Viceroy Majorga gave instructions to the effect that Father Serra was within his rights.

During the American Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

, Father Serra took up a collection from his mission parishes throughout California. The total money collected amounted to roughly $137, but the money was sent to General George Washington
George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...

.