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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 June 16, 2021

We should blush with shame to show so much resentment at wha...

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June 16

 

We should blush with shame
to show so much resentment at what is done or said against us,
knowing that so many injuries and affronts
have been offered to our Redeemer and the saints.

St. Teresa of Avila


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Lutgardis

Her forehead and hair were often made wet with drops of bloo...

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St. Lutgardis

Born in the Netherlands in 1182, Lutgardis was sent to a Benedictine convent at the age of twelve because her merchant father had lost the money meant for her dowry, and marriage without it seemed unlikely.

She was fond of worldly things, and had no inclination toward a religious life. However, one afternoon she had a vision of Our Lord, Who showed her His sacred wounds and asked her to love Him and Him alone.

Lutgardis immediately renounced all worldly pleasures and became a religious. She often saw Christ while engaged in prayer, and was allowed to share in His sufferings: her forehead and hair were often made wet with drops of blood when she meditated on The Passion.

Desiring to live under a stricter rule, Lutgardis later joined a Cistercian convent at Aywieres. There she spent the final thirty years of her life, becoming known as a mystic with the gifts of healing and prophecy. During the last eleven years prior to her death she was totally blind, an affliction which she treated as an extraordinary gift from God because it reduced the distractions of the outside world.

Before she died, Our Lord appeared to her to warn her of her approaching death, and asked her to prepare for this event in three ways. She was to give praise to God for what she had received, pray constantly for the conversion of sinners and rely in all things on God alone. She died soon after the vision on June 16, 1246.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

Fatima custodians often meet people who know little or nothi...

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Visiting a Muslim Family

Fatima custodians often meet people who know little or nothing about the Catholic faith.  A few years ago I had such an experience in Florida. 

Upon arrival at the home, an elderly grandmother with a group of young children and teens met me at the door. The group was sullen as I brought in the statue, set up the projector and began the introduction.  Unknown to me, I was speaking to a Muslim family.

At a certain point, one of the teens vehemently objected to the phrase “Mother of God” and accused me of blasphemy since Jesus was not God. Quickly the visit became an interesting defense of the Catholic faith. After answering several more objections to the best of my ability, my Islamic hosts allowed me to explain the Rosary, with an attentive audience, I proceeded to pray alone.

After reciting the Rosary, the attendants and I listened to the hostess, who explained why she had assembled the family for the visit.

Several weeks ago, she was hospitalized for a serious illness. She felt alone and abandoned until one day a stranger walked in with a bouquet of flowers, placed it by the bedside and stayed to listen to all of her concerns. The stranger returned repeatedly to renew her flowers, fix her pillows and talk to her. Then the Muslim mother questioned the stranger’s motives, explaining that her own family wasn’t visiting her. The stranger replied that she was a Catholic and Catholics are encouraged to visit the sick.

Requesting more information about the Catholic faith, the mother was told that it was against hospital policy to discuss religion and therefore she would have to search for information on her own.

Upon her release from the hospital, my hostess entered a nearby Catholic church and encountered an America Needs Fatima flier about Our Lady of Fatima. She called the number and set up a home visit to which she then invited her family.

I may never know what has happened to the family, but I regularly pray that their interest in Catholicism has brought them into the folds of the Catholic Church. Of one thing I am certain: Our Lady will never abandon those who invite her into their homes.

By Michael Chad Shibler

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Fatima custodians often meet people who know little or nothing about the Catholic faith.  A few years ago I had such an experience in Florida

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