Born in Majorca, Junípero Serra joined the Franciscans in 1730. A gifted teacher, he left Spain for the Mexican missions in 1749. He was appointed superior of a group of Franciscans assigned to Alta California (now the state of California). Despite a painful leg injury, he preached Christ to the natives up and down the coast, founding the first nine California missions. When the Spanish military presence threatened the economic independence of the missions, he returned to Mexico City to plead for the rights of the natives. His personal motto was “Always forward, never back.” Junípero died at Mission Carmel in 1784, and was canonized on September 23, 2015. Credit: Magnificat Magazine, July 1, 2020. For more about this great saint, please click on the image. Peace be with you!