Blessed Junipero Serra

Saint of the Day:  Catholic in California:  Blessed Junipero Serra

Pope Francis will canonize Blessed Junipero Serra on September 23 in Washington D.C., before travelling to Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families.

Spanish, b. 1713, d. 1784
patron of California, vocations

A Franciscan Friar who was a Lector of Philosophy and held the Duns Scotus Chair at Lullian University, he was expected to have a life in academia. Instead, he volunteered to go to the New World to do mission work among the indigenous people. Blessed Serra established nine of the twenty-one missions in California. He chose his name from Saint Francis of Assisi’s beloved Brother Juniper (d. 1258), who was known as a “the renowned jester of the Lord” and about whom Francis said

“Would to God, my brothers, I had a whole forest of such junipers.”

In 1931 the state of California gave a statue of Blessed Junipero Serra to National Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol.  Each state is allowed two statues. California state Senator Ricardo Lara and Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins introduced a resolution to replace the statue of Serra with a statue of Sally Ride, astronaut. Nearly 50,000 people have signed a petition at Citizen Go to allow Serra’s statue to stay at the U.S. Capitol Building.

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