Father Serra

and the California Missions

By Keith Bond

Who is Father Junipero Serra?

Junipero Serra was born on November 24th, 1713, but he wasn't born with the name Junipero. He was named Miguel Jose at birth. He was born on the island of Majorca. Majorca is an island located on the East side of Spain.

He took the name of Junipero when he entered the Fransiscan Order in 1730. He was ordained a Father in 1737 and started to teach philosophy and theology for twelve years at the University of Padua in Italy. Father Serra moved to Mexico City, Mexico on August 28th, 1784. Here he worshipped people such as The Virgin Mary or The Virgin of Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico. While he was in Mexico all of the Franciscan Monks were asked to take over the missions in Baja California. After these missions were taken over, they became the responsibility of Father Serra.

In the late 1760's Junipero Serra accompanied the Sacred Expedition. The Sacred Expedition was Spain's effort to settle Upper California and to convert the Indians. Father Serra taught the Indians about religion and other things that they did not know about. The first stop on the Sacred Heart Expedition was San Diego. Here, Father Serra planted a cross on Presidio Hill and established the first California Mission. Later he would establish eight other missions along the El Camino Real or "The Kings Road." This road ran along the Pacific coast from San Diego to Sonoma. Twelve other missions were founded by other fathers making a total of 21 missions in Alta California.

Father Junipero Serra died at the age of 70 in 1784. He had traveled over 24,000 miles in his life. He died at San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo and is buried there under the sanctuary floor.

The California Missions Founded by Father Junipero Serra

1769- San Diego de Alcala

1770- San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo

1771- San Antonio de Padua

1771- San Gabriel Arcangel

1772- San Luis Obispo de Tolosa

1776- San Fransisco de Asis

1776- San Juan Capistrano

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1777- Santa Clara de Asis

1782- San Buenaventura

The Missions Founded by Other Fathers


1786- Santa Barbara

1787- Purisma Concepcion

1791- Santa Cruz

1791- Nuestra Senora de la Soledad

1797- San Jose de Guadalpe

1797- San Juan Bautista

1797- San Migul Archangel

1797- San Fernando Rey de Espana

1798- San Luis Rey de Francia

1804- Santa Ines

1817- San Rafael Archangel

1823- San Fransisco de Solano


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