Saint Junípero Serra

Patron Saint of Serra Clubs

Fr. Junípero Serra, OFM, was chosen as the patron of our apostolate because of his life of priestly zeal and heroic virtue and because of his place in American history as the founder of a chain of missions in Mexico and California.  This gifted Franciscan friar occupied the Duns Scotus chair of philosophy in Mallorca, Spain until he felt the call to commit himself further to the service of Christ as a missionary in the New World.  Departing from Cadiz, Spain in 1748, he made the perilous crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in a small ship, landing at Veracruz on the southern shore of the Gulf of Mexico.  From there, he journeyed on foot to Mexico City, where tradition has it that he prayed at the church built over the famous site where the Virgin of Guadalupe appeared to St. Juan Diego in 1531.

Fr. Junípero Serra was transferred to the Sierra Gorda region (100 miles north of Mexico City) at his own request, and was appointed President of the Sierra Gorda missions in 1751.  After nine years, he was asked to undertake his missionary work 750 miles north on the Pacific coast of the North American continent, much of the time suffering with an ulcerated leg.  

Fr. Serra and his fellow Franciscan friars eventually established the first nine of 21 Spanish missions in California from San Diego to San Francisco, in what was then Alta California and worked tirelessly to bring Christ to the indigenous peoples.  After a lengthy period of missionary activity, Fr. Serra died in 1784 at the San Carlos Borroméo de Carmelo Mission, in Carmel, California, U.S.A. his favorite mission. Fray Junípero Serra attained sainthood when he was canonized by His Holiness Pope Francis on Sept. 23, 2015, in Washington, D.C.

This holy priest who demonstrated such zeal for the salvation of souls has been chosen as the patron of our global vocations apostolate, recognizing the primary focus of its work is fostering and affirming vocations to the holy priesthood and to supporting the sacred ministry of priests who spend and consume themselves for the salvation of souls.