Serra was president of the following missions.
(all founded by the Jesuits)
1. 1697 - Nuestra Señora de Loreto
2. 1699 - San Francisco Xavier
3. 1705 - Santa Rosalía de Mulegé
4. 1708 - San José de Comondú
5. 1720 - La Purísima Concepción de
. . . . . . . .María Cadegomó
6. 1720 - Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe
7. 1721 - Santiago de las Coras
8. 1721 - Nuestra Señora de los Dolores
9. 1728 - San Ignacio
10. 1730 - San José del Cabo
11. 1733 - Todos Santos
12. 1737 - San Luís Gonzaga
13. 1752 - Santa Gertrudis
14. 1762 - San Francisco de Borja
15. 1767 - Santa María de Los Angeles
Serra was responsible for the founding of the first nine missions.
1) 1769 - San Diego de Alcalá
2) 1770 - San Carlos Borromeo
3) 1771 - San Antonio de Padua
4) 1771 - San Gabriel Arcángel
5) 1772 - San Luís Obispo de Tolosa
6) 1776 - San Francisco de Asís
7) 1776 - San Juan Capistrano
8) 1777 - Santa Clara de Asís
9) 1782 - San Buenaventura
The next nine missions founded by Rev. Fermín Francisco Lasuén.
10) 1786 - Santa Bárbara
11) 1787 - La Purisima Concepción
12) 1791 - Santa Cruz
13) 1791 - Nuestra Señora de la Soledae
14) 1797 - San José de Guadalupe
15) 1797 - San Juan Bautista
16) 1797 - San Miguel Arcángel
17) 1797 - San Fernando Rey de Espana
18) 1798 - San Luís Rey de Francia
Founded by others.
19) 1804 - Santa Inés
20) 1817 - San Rafael Arcángel
21) 1823 - San Francisco Solano de
. . . . . . . . .Sonoma
FATHER JUNÍPERO SERRA, THE MAN
. . Interviews with California historians and scholars assessing Father Junípero Serra's role in the early history of California identify the Franciscan missionary as a major figure in California history whose founding of Mission San Diego de Alcala on July 16, 1769, marked the introduction of a new civilization in California. Father Serra came to what is now California as a 56-year-old man, asthmatic and suffering from a chronic leg sore that troubled him for the last 15 years of his life. Yet he walked thousands of miles, rode thousands more on the backs of mules, and traveled thousands of miles in sailing ships, bringing the Spanish language to California, as well as the Roman Catholic religion and a chain of nine missions that became the cities of today's California. He introduced agriculture and irrigation systems, pressed for a system of law to protect California's Native Americans against the abuses of Spanish soldiers and created a network of roads.
. . The following excerpts of interviews with historians and scholars, as well as a Franciscan priest with extensive knowledge of the life of the pioneer missionary, describe Father Serra, the man:
DR. MICHAEL MATHES, Professor of history
at the University of San Francisco:
DR. HARRY KELSEY, curator of history at the
Los Angeles Museum of Natural History:
DR. DAVID HORNBECK, professor of historical
geography at California State University, Northridge:
DR. IRIS ENGSTRAND, professor and chair of
the Department of History at the University of San Diego:
DR. GLORIA MlRANDA, an historian who is associate
professor and chair of the Chicano Studies Department at Los
Angeles Valley College and who is working on a book about the
pioneering family during Father Serra's time:
FATHER FRANCIS F. GUEST, O. F.M., director
of the Santa Barbara Mission Archive-Library:
FATHER JUNÍPERO SERRA: BIOGRAPHY
. . When Father Junípero Serra founded California's first mission in 1769, he was 56 years old and asthmatic, with a chronic sore on his leg that troubled him for the rest of his life, and he suffered frequently from other illnesses, as well. He stood just 5 feet, 2 inches, and, as a journalist later wrote, "He certainly didn't look like the man who would one day be known as the Apostle of California." Yet he endured the hardships of the frontier and pressed forward with remarkable determination to fulfill his purpose: to convert the Native Americans of California to Christianity.
. . In pursuit of that goal, Father Serra walked thousands of miles between San Diego and Monterey and even Mexico City. He traveled the seas, also; and by the time he died August 28, 1784, in Carmel he had founded nine missions, introduced agriculture and irrigation techniques, and the Spanish language. He had battled governors, bureaucrats and military commanders to secure a system of laws to protect the California Indians from at least some of the injustices inflicted by the Spanish soldiers whose practices often were in conflict with Father Serra's.
. . Father Serra had been a philosophy professor and distinguished preacher at the Convent of San Francisco in Mallorca, the Spanish island where he was born in 1713. He was 36 years old when he reached the port of Vera Cruz, Mexico, on December 8, 1749, and walked to Mexico City. ( It was during that journey of 24 days that an insect bite caused the sore on his leg that sometimes became so painful he had difficulty walking. ) He spent 17 years in missionary work in the Sierra Gorda in the present area of North-Central Mexico. In 1767 he became president of the 14 missions in Baja California, originally founded by the Jesuits, then turned over to the Franciscans.
. . At that time, faced with the threat of Russian colonization from the north, Spain had committed itself to pushing northward into what is now the American state of California. Russian America (Alaska) was only 800 miles away. Spain feared that Russia would push south and gain a firm foothold in Alta California. The Spanish military launched an expedition into California in 1769 under the leadership of Gaspar de Portola. Father Serra set out with them to establish missions.
. . Serra's blessing of the site of Mission San Diego de Alcala on July 16, 1769, marked the beginning of the European settlement of California.
. . Between the years of 1796 and 1784, Father Serra made six voyages by sea totaling 5,400 miles. He traveled by land the distance between Monterey and San Francisco eight times, Monterey and San Antonio 11 times, His longest journey by land was from Monterey to Mexico City. In total, he traveled well over 5,500 miles by land.
. . Father Serra arrived at Monterey aboard the sailing ship San Antonio on June 1, 1770. He celebrated the first Mass on June 3, 1770, on the shore of Monterey Bay, where we now find the city of Monterey.
. . He returned to San Diego to work on the mission there, then founded Mission San Juan Capistrano in 1776, the year of the American Declaration of Independence.
. . When Father Serra died in 1784 he had established nine California missions and baptized 6,000 Indians, about 10 percent of the California Native American population. Those nine missions grew to 21. Today, more than 60 percent of the state's nearly 26 million people live in areas surrounding the missions, and El Camino Real, the road that Father Serra traveled on a tour of the missions shortly before this death, established a major artery running much of the length of the state.
August 28th is the anniversary of the death of Father Serra, and is set aside in special remembrance of his many contributions to the Catholic Church in America.