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Father Junipero Serra

Saint Junipero Serra Information

Feast Day: July 1
Saint Junipero Serra (1713-1784)
The Padre President of California

Saint Junipero Serra was a Spanish priest and explorer who founded the famous missions that dot California. At 16, he entered the Franciscans. In 1749, Junipero answered a call for missionaries and sailed for Mexico. He founded his first California mission, San Diego de Alcala, in 1769, and was made “Padre Presidente” of California. Over the next 15 years, Fr. Serra established seven missions, each one a full-day’s walk from its neighbor, and linked by a dirt road called “El Camino Real” or King’s Highway. Despite an infected leg, Serra walked more than 24,000 miles in California alone — more than the journeys of Marco Polo and Lewis & Clark combined.


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