A True Story of the Founder of the #California Missions
When Junípero Serra was a young man living on the Spanish island of Majorca, he joined the #Franciscan Order. He was soon bitten by the bug to become a missionary to the natives living in New Spain, even though he would have to give up his prestigious university position in Palma. He chose to give up family and friends and a comfortable life in order to follow his dream of spreading Christianity to the New World.
On April 13, 1749, Serra boarded a packet boat and left his island home. Unfortunately, the captain of the boat hated friars and argued daily with Father Serra, threatening to throw him overboard. One day he took a knife to his throat, but Father Serra struggled and broke free. He gladly left that boat when it reached the Spanish mainland!
Serra knew his parents were saddened by his decision to leave Majorca. After all, he was their only son and they would never see him again. Just before leaving Cádiz, Father Junípero wrote to a friend, saying, “I want to ask you again to do me the favor of consoling my parents, who, I know, are going through a great sorrow. I wish I could give them some of the happiness that is mine; and I feel that they would urge me to go ahead and never to turn back.” Indeed, Junípero Serra would never “turn back” from anything he set out to do.
After a few weeks on the ocean the voyagers ran short of food and water. Serra wrote, “I was so thirsty that I would [have drunk] from the dirtiest puddle.” All of the missionaries on the ship became sick, except tor him.
As they approached #Mexico, a violent hurricane struck. Serra and his fellow Franciscans did the only thing they could — they prayed. After days of riding the immense waves, the storm calmed and the ship finally landed in Vera Cruz. Father Serra stepped onto solid ground on December 6, 1749, after three months at sea. His missionary adventures were only beginning.
Jump ahead to 2015. JunIpero Serra was declared a Saint in the Catholic Church by #Pope Francis in 2015. Read more about the life of Saint Serra in my latest book, JunIpero Serra: Founder of the California Missions (Ignatius Press).
Click on book cover above for more information about this book, #JunIpero Serra: Founder of the California Missions, published in 2015 by Ignatius Press.