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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 August 2, 2021

The state of grace is nothing other than purity, and it give...

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August 2

 

The state of grace is nothing other than purity,
and it gives heaven to those who clothe themselves in it.
Holiness, therefore, is simply the state of grace
purified, illuminated, beautified by the most perfect purity,
exempt not only from mortal sin but also from the smallest faults.
Purity will make saints of you!
Everything lies in this.

St. Peter Julian Eymard


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Eusebius of Vercelli

The Arians dragged him through the streets and shut him up i...

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St. Eusebius of Vercelli

Eusebius was born on the island of Sardinia where his father died a martyr. His mother took him and his sister to live in Rome where Eusebius eventually joined the clergy and was ordained a lector. He was sent to Vercelli and served the Church so well there that he was chosen as its bishop. He is the first bishop of Vercelli whose name was recorded.

In 354 he was sent by Pope Liberius to persuade the Emperor Constantius to call a council to settle Catholic-Arian disputes. When it was called at Milan, Eusebius went reluctantly, sensing that the Arians would have their way. He refused to go along with the condemnation of Saint Athanasius, who’s  refusal to tolerate Arian heresy was the cause of many trials and persecutions. Eusebius insisted on Athanasius’ innocence and reminded the emperor that secular force should not be used to influence Church decisions. At first the emperor threatened to kill him, but later sent him into exile in Palestine. There the Arians dragged him through the streets and shut him up in a little room, releasing him only after Eusebius undertook a four-day hunger strike. They soon resumed their harassment.

His exile continued in Asia Minor and Egypt, until the new emperor permitted him to return to his see in Vercelli. He died in 371.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

In the days of yore, when travel must be had on foot or by h...

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The Virgin Mary Rewards a Bandit

In the days of yore, when travel must be had on foot or by horse, many were the dangers to be found along the roadways. Bandits plagued travelers and made their living by depriving others of their goods and often their very lives.

A young woman in the Papal States, who was very devout towards Mary, met in a certain place a chief of the bandits. Fearing some outrage, she implored him, for love of the most holy Virgin, not to molest her.

"Do not fear," he answered, "for you have prayed me in the name of the mother of God; and I only ask you to recommend me to her." Moved by the woman’s mention of the Blessed Virgin, the bandit accompanied her himself along the road to a place of safety.

The following night, Mary appeared in a dream to the bandit. She thanked him for the act of kindness he had performed for love of her. Mary went on to say that she would remember it and would one day reward him.

The robber, at length, was arrested, and condemned to death. But behold, the night previous to his execution, the blessed Virgin visited him again in a dream, and first asked him: "Do you know who I am?"

He answered, "It seems to me I have seen you before."

"I am the Virgin Mary," she continued, "and I have come to reward you for what you have done for me. You will die tomorrow, but you will die with so much contrition that you will come at once to paradise."

The convict awoke, and felt such contrition for his sins that he began to weep bitterly, all the while giving thanks aloud to our Blessed Lady. He asked immediately for a priest, to whom he made his confession with many tears, relating the vision he had seen. Finally, he asked the priest to make public this grace that had been bestowed on him by Mary.

He went joyfully to his execution, after which, as it is related, his countenance was so peaceful and so happy that all who saw him believed that the promise of the heavenly mother had been fulfilled.

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

In the days of yore, when travel must be had on foot or by horse, many were the dangers to be found along the roadways.