Junípero Serra Biography
(Spanish Roman Catholic Priest and Missionary of the Franciscan Order)
Birthday: November 24, 1713 (Sagittarius)
Born In: Petra, Spain
Junípero Serra was a Franciscan priest, who was canonized in 2015 for his dedication and service to his religion. Born in a farming family in the island of Majorca, he later came to be known as the founding father of California. Today he is revered as the Patron Saint of the state and also of the Hispanic Americans. He was a brilliant student and could have led a comfortable life by teaching at the Franciscan colleges. But, he chose to go on a mission to Mexico, then known as New Spain and preach among the Indians. Along with converting a large number of Indians to Christianity he also made sure they had a better life. He taught them agriculture and other vocations and thus improved the standard of living. Later, he went to California and set up a string of missions there. There too he converted large number of Indians and improved their living conditions. However, he maintained strict discipline and offenders were physically punished. Moreover, he did not allow the converted Indians to mix with non-converts lest they went back to their old ways. Later this created many controversies and indigenous Indians blame him for torture of their ancestors and destruction of their culture.