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Junipero Serra, the indomitable apostle of California, was born on the Spanish island of Mallorca and baptized Miguel Jose. Later entering the Franciscan Order, he took the name of St Francis' childlike companion, Brother Juniper.

He received a doctorate in theology from Lullian University in Palma de Mallorca, where he also occupied the Dons Scotus chair of philosophy. He was also known as a great preacher.

In 1749 he gave up everything to follow his long-harbored desire of helping to convert the natives in the new world after hearing about the missions of St. Francis Solano.

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

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

Fr. Junipero founded his first mission, that of San Diego, in 1769, which almost had to be quit due to a shortage of food. Vowing to stay with the local people, he began a novena to Saint Joseph. On March 19, the scheduled day for departure, the relief ship arrived.

From San Diego, the holy Franciscan, traveling indefatigably despite his bad leg, established another eight missions. Twelve more missions were founded after his death.

When insurmountable difficulties arose with a military commander, he made the grueling trip to Mexico City and there obtained from the Viceroy the famous document known as the “Regulation” protecting the Indians and the missions. It was the basis for the first significant legislation of California, a sort of “Bill of Rights.”

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

He brought the Native Americans the gift of the Catholic Faith, the gift of a better quality of life and won their love in the process. At his death in 1784 he was sorely grieved.

He is buried at the Mission San Carlo Borromeo and was beatified in 1988. 

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.

 


 

 

 

 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for January 27, 2021

Pray with great confidence, with confidence based upon the g...

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January 27

 

Pray with great confidence, with confidence
based upon the goodness and infinite generosity of God
and upon the promises of Jesus Christ.
God is a spring of living water
which flows unceasingly into the hearts of those who pray.

St. Louis de Montfort


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Angela Merici

Angela was much distressed when her sister suddenly died wit...

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St. Angela Merici

Angela de Merici was born in Desenzano, on the southwestern shore of beautiful Lake Garda, in northern Italy. Left an orphan at the age of ten with an older sister and a brother, they were taken in by an uncle living in the neighboring town of Salò.

Angela was much distressed when her sister suddenly died without the assistance of the last sacraments. At this time she had a vision, the first of many in her life, which set her mind at rest as to her sister’s salvation. In gratitude, she made a special consecration of herself to God, joined the Third Order of St. Francis and began to lead a life of great austerity.

After her uncle died when she was twenty, Angela moved back to Desenzano. Convinced of the need to instruct young girls in the Faith, she converted her home into a school. In a vision, she was shown that she would found a congregation for the instruction of young girls. Angela talked with fellow Franciscan tertiaries and friends who began to help her. Though petite in stature, Angela had looks, charm and leadership. Her school thrived and she was approached about starting a similar school in the larger city of Brescia where she came in contact with leading families whom she influenced with her great ideals.

In 1525 on a pilgrimage to Rome, Pope Clement VII, who had heard of her holiness, suggested she found a congregation of nursing sisters in Rome. But Angela who felt called elsewhere and shunned publicity, declined and returned to Brescia.

On November 25, 1535, with twelve other virgins, Angela Merici laid the foundations for her order for the teaching of young women, the first congregation of its kind in the Church. She placed her order under the protection of St. Ursula the patroness of medieval universities and popularly venerated as a leader of women. To this day her followers are known as the Ursulines.

Angela died only five years after establishing the Ursulines, and was canonized in 1807 by Pope Pius VII.

Photo by: Benoit Lhoest

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

Many centuries ago, three young nuns lived together in a con...

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Our Lady and the Three Dresses

Many centuries ago, three young nuns lived together in a convent. Day after day, they took their meals together, they went to chapel together, and they prayed and sang together.

One day, their priest-confessor advised them that, as a preparation for the feast of the purification of Mary, they should recite the whole Rosary every day for forty days. The three nuns obediently complied.

On the night before that holy feast day, the Heavenly Mother appeared to the three nuns as they gathered in the choir. To the first of these three sisters she handed a rich garment, embroidered with gold. Holy Mary thanked her and blessed her.

She then handed to the second nun a much simpler garment, and also thanked her. Noticing the difference in the two garments, the second sister asked, "Oh Lady, why have you brought my sister a richer garment?" Mary Most Holy lovingly replied, "Because she has clothed me more richly with her prayers than you have done."

Mary then approached the third nun with a canvas garment. Being an observant young lady, this sister at once asked pardon for the half-hearted way in which she had prayed her rosaries.

A full year had passed when all three fervently prepared for the same feast, each saying her Rosary with great devotion. On the evening preceding the festival, Mary appeared to them in glory, and said to them: "Be prepared, for tomorrow you shall come to paradise."

The following morning dawned, full of promise. Each nun wondered if this would be her last day in this vale of tears. When evening came, would they retire to their modest cells once more, or did Holy Mary have something else in store for them?

The sisters related to their confessor what had occurred, and received communion in the morning. At the hour of compline (evening prayers) they saw again the most holy Virgin, who came to take them with her. Amid the songs of angels, one after the other sweetly expired.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

Many centuries ago, three young nuns lived together in a convent. Day after day, they took their meals together, they went to chapel together, and they prayed and sang together.

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