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Born in 1713 in Petra on the island of Mallorca off the coast of Spain. He dreamed of becoming a priest from his young years. At age 17, he entered the Franciscan order and was ordained in 1738. He taught at the University of Llallian, but he desired to go the New World to bring the Gospel to the Indians. After a long arduous journey, he arrived in Mexico City where he taught philosophy at San Fernando University for 9 years. All the Jesuit priests were ordered out of Northern California by King Charles III of Spain. Fr. Serra was sent there as president of California’s missions. He established the first mission, San Diego de Alcala. He traveled to Monterey and founded St. Charles Borromeo Mission. He made that his home base. He traveled, mostly on foot, founding missions along the way along a stretch of 800 miles of the California coast. Probably the most famous mission is San Juan Capistrano, known for the yearly visits of flocks of swallows. He learned the languages of seven different tribes and wrote a catechism in each. He taught the Indians to farm, weave cloth, grown oranges, etc. The Fransciscans spread the Catholic faith everywhere. He traveled everywhere to improve the missions and encourage the many friars in their work. After more than 30 years of work and travel, Fr. Serra died of tuberculosis in 1784 at age 71. He was buried in the Carmel mission at his request. Pope John Paul II beatified him on September 25, 1988 after a miraculous healing from fatal lupus to Sr. M Boniface Dryda.
FEAST DAY: July 1