Blessed Juniper Serra was born on November 24, 1713, in Petra, Majorca, Spain, and died on August 28, 1784, in the Mission of St. Charles Borromeo in Carmel, California, where he is buried. He was beatified by Blessed Pope John Paul II, on September 25, 1988. He was always accompanied by Br. Francisco Palou, OFM.
Friar Juniper was the founder of twenty missions in the current state of California (United States). There missions were named after the Virgin Mary or a saint (many of them Franciscans), along the so-called “Camino Real”, which stretches from the border with Mexico to San Francisco, one of the many cities and towns in California formed around a Franciscan Mission; others include San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and Sacramento.
Br. Juniper is a great Franciscan Apostle of the evangelization of Sierra Gorda and the Californias and as such he is considered one of the “founding Fathers” of the United States. His statue is in the Capitol of Washington (USA) among the “Fathers” of USA.
This year marks the third centenary of his birth.