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Junipero Serra, the indomitable apostle of California, was born on the Spanish Balearic island of Mallorca in the Mediterranean Sea and received the name Miguel Jose in Baptism. Later entering the Franciscan Order, he took the name of Saint Francis of Assisi’s childlike companion, Brother Juniper, and came to be known as Fray Junipero.

His was a “rags-to-riches” story. Born into poverty but brilliant of intellect, before the age of 30 he held a doctorate in theology and occupied the Duns Scotus chair of philosophy at the Lullian University in Palma de Mallorca.

Renowned as a preacher and professor, he could easily have become the dean of the university and more but at the age of 36 he gave up all earthly semblance of glory to follow his long-harbored desire to evangelize the natives in the New World.

The inspiration of his missionary zeal was another Franciscan, the great 16th century apostle of South America, St. Francis Solano.

Arriving in Vera Crux in Mexico, Fray Junipero and a companion walked 250 miles to Mexico City. On the way, Fray Junipero hurt his leg, which never fully healed, a condition that was life-threatening at times and which caused him much discomfort for the rest of his life.

 

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He worked for eighteen years in central Mexico and the Baja California Peninsula, and then was convinced by Capitan Juan Galvez to follow him on a 900-mile journey to present-day Monterey, California.

Fray Junipero Serra was 54 when he took charge of the missions in Alta California, heading a group of fifteen Franciscans. He founded his first mission – San Diego de Alcalá – in 1769. This first mission was followed by another eight in his own lifetime, a holy endeavor that would expand to a total of 21 after his death. Many of these became the centers of great cities like San Diego. The Apostle of California baptized 6,000 people and traveled 20,000 miles on his bad leg.

Encountering difficulties with the military commander and lieutenant-governor of California Nueva, Fray Junipero made the grueling trip to Mexico City and there obtained from the Viceroy the famous Representación, protecting the Indians and the missions. This document was the basis for the first significant legislation of California, a sort of “Bill of Rights” for Native Americans.

Fray Junipero Serra’s life was one long battle with the elements, the terrain, cold and hunger, unsympathetic commanders, and even danger of death from non-Christian natives. But he fed his unquenchable zeal with a life of intense prayer, often from midnight to dawn.

He brought the Native Americans the gift of faith and a better quality of life, and won their love in the process. This ardent and zealous son of St. Francis died in 1784 at the age 70 at Mission San Carlos Borromeo and was beatified in 1988.

Such was the virtue, the tenacity, and the sheer courage of this man of God, that even secularist biographers, who struggle to understand Fr. Junipero’s astounding asceticism and heroic generosity, salute the man. Such was his contribution to the civilization of our nation that a bronze representation of him, cross held high, stands in the National Statuary Hall of the United States Capitol, in Washington D.C.

Just weeks after Pope Francis announced his intention of canonizing Blessed Junipero Serra during his visit to the United States, California’s openly homosexual Senator Ricardo Lara began moving to replace the statue of our venerable saint with that of Sally Ride the first female astronaut, who was also a lesbian.

Junipero Serra was canonized on September 23rd 2015, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washing D.C. by Pope Francis.

 

The nine missions Blessed Junipero founded: 

 


 

 

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Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for September 22, 2019

Dismiss all anger and look into yourself a little. Remember...

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September 22

 

Dismiss all anger and look into yourself a little.
Remember that he of whom you are speaking
is your brother, and as he is in the way of salvation,
God can make him a saint,
in spite of his present weakness.

St. Thomas of Villanova


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Thomas of Villanova

When the emperor discovered his secretary had written the na...

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St. Thomas of Villanova

Thomas was born in Castile, Spain in 1488. His family was not wealthy, but his father’s work as a miller allowed the family to be charitable and generous towards the poor. He was sent to school at the University of Alcala at the age of sixteen, where he threw himself enthusiastically into his studies and, ten years later, became professor of philosophy.

In 1516 he joined the Augustinian Friars at Salamanca and was ordained a priest two years later. He eventually became prior in several houses of the Augustinian Order, notably Salamanca, Burgos, and Valladolid. When Don Jorge, the Archbishop of Valencia, resigned, the emperor did not offer Thomas the see because he knew the high position would be a grievous trial for the humble friar-priest. Instead, the emperor nominated a religious of the Order of St. Jerome. However, when the emperor discovered his secretary had written the name of Brother Thomas of Villanova on the letter of nomination, he took it as a sign from God and appointed Thomas bishop. The year was 1545.

Thomas immediately began to restore the spiritual and material life of the archdiocese. He was deeply committed to the poor, established care for orphans and convinced the emperor to provide funds to organize priests for service among the converted Moors who had lapsed back into their old religion for lack of a shepherd.

Renowned for his personal charity, sanctity and austerities, Thomas was eventually consecrated archbishop. While he did not attend the sessions of the Council of Trent, he was an ardent supporter of the Reformation against the Lutheran heresy.

Thomas of Villanova died in 1555 of angina at the age of sixty-seven. He was canonized by Pope Alexander VII on November 1, 1658.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

“What is that?” Asked a curious voice as America Needs F...

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The Power of a Picture

“What is that?” Asked a curious voice as America Needs Fatima custodian Jose Ferraz stepped into the hotel elevator in Altamonte Springs, Florida. “This is the Pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima,” replied Mr. Ferraz, “I take Her to visit people in their homes to spread the Fatima message.” He then handed the woman, who was a maid at the hotel, America Needs Fatima’s most popular picture. “This is a picture of Her.” The woman gasped. “I know that picture! It inspired a conversion.” She then asked excitedly, “Do you have a minute to hear the story?” 

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As Mr. Ferraz listened, he learned that the woman, Maria Vegra, had a 22-year old son who had recently passed away after three weeks in the hospital due to a fatal injury received in a car accident. While in the hospital, a priest would visit him every day to administer Holy Communion. The priest consistently offered the sacrament to the neighboring patient of Maria’s son, another young man who was also in critical condition. The young man would say, “No. I don’t believe in God.” But the priest continued to offer salvation. “Let me hear your confession and give you Holy Communion and Last Rights,” the priest said, “it will save your soul and get you to heaven.” Time after time, the young man stubbornly refused.

During the weeks of hospitalization and fruitless medical treatments, Maria had taken her son a picture of Our Lady of Fatima a friend had given her from an America Needs Fatima mailing.

She knew Our Lady’s watchful gaze would give her son peace in his last days. The day after she placed Our Lady’s picture at the foot of her son’s bed, she heard the voice of his stubborn neighbor: “please,” he said, “bring the picture closer to me. I want to look at the Lady.” 

Surprised but willing, Maria placed the picture in the middle of the two suffering men. 

After three days of letting the nearby picture of Our Lady touch his heart as he gazed into Her eyes, the suffering patient relented. “Please,” he called out, “bring me the priest. I want to receive the sacraments.”

A few days later, the young man died a Catholic. With a simple picture of Our Lady of Fatima, God touched a heart and saved a soul. 

 By Catherine Ferdinand

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“What is that?” Asked a curious voice as America Needs Fatima custodian Jose Ferraz stepped into the hotel elevator in Altamonte Springs, Florida. “This is the Pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima,” replied Mr. Ferraz, “I take Her to visit people in their homes to spread the Fatima message.” He then handed the woman, who was a maid at the hotel, America Needs Fatima’s most popular picture. 

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