Biography of Potential Saint Father Junipero Serra

About the potential saint Father Junipero Serra, biography and history, causes and current status.


Cause. Originally a missionary in Mexico, after the Spanish exiled the Jesuits Serra was appointed president of the Franciscans' California missions. While there, he founded 9 missions, including the ones at San Diego, San Francisco, and Santa Clara.

As a crusader for better treatment of the Indians, he became embroiled in several conflicts with the military. He petitioned a list of grievances entitled Memorial, but did most of the reforming on his own, baptizing and confirming thousands, as well as introducing agriculture and domestic animals.

Devil's Advocate. Weak though they were, he had associations with the military, as well as having been Commissary of the Holy Office of the Inquisition.

Nomination. In 1934, at the request of the Bishop of Monterey-Fresno and of the Franciscan provincial of the Province of Santa Barbara, the process of beatification was opened.

Present Stage. Though Serra is probably the most famous of the Franciscan missionaries to America, and as a tribute to him, his statue is now in the Hall of Fame in the Capitol at Washington, D.C., interest in his cause appears to have waned. The compilation of historical data has not even been completed yet, let alone the investigation into possible miracles. However, Father Litz, of the Bishop Neumann Shrine in Philadelphia, considers him "an excellent candidate."

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