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Fra Juníper Serra, the Mallorcan Missionary

Fra Juníper Serra was born in the village of Petra on November 24th, 1713. Padre Serra was beatified by Pope John Paul II on September 25th, 1988.

Mallorca is currently busy preparing commemorative acts for his tricentennial birthday, next year. Padre Serra left his natal Mallorca age 36 as a Franciscan missionary for the “New Spain” in Mexico and never returned to his native island. In the Americas, he founded missions in Alta California such as San Diego de Alcalá, San Gabriel Arcángel, San Francisco de Asís, and San Juan Capistrano, which eventually would become the cities of San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento.

Amongst a number of projects, a cinema film is presently in a phase of preproduction, launched by the Mallorca Film Commission, in collaboration with the Cluster Audiovisual de Baleares and the Mallorcan IB3 television channel, aiming to portray on-screen the life and vocation of the Mallorcan missionary. Let’s hope they can raise the finance. Michael Douglas once said, years ago, that he would be interested in bringing Juníper Serra’s biography to the screen.

The photo (top) was taken in Palma, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: August 7th, 2012. The time was 15:11:01. The photo (bottom) was added as a postscript. It was taken in Palma, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: August 22nd, 2012. The time was 12:40:00.

4 replies »

  1. Thank you for posting this! I am a California native who has lived in Mallorca (though unfortunately not for a couple years) and am very proud of the connection between my two homes. Many here don’t know about the history of Juníper Serra, but we do study it here in school, and I remember that was the first time I heard about Mallorca (little did I know I would live there one day!).

    Two corrections –

    1) San Gabriel Arcángel became the town of San Gabriel, a little to the east of LA (and where my family is from). Los Angeles grew around Nuestra Señora Reina de los Ángeles, originally an ‘asistencia’ of San Gabriel (a sort of mission of the mission). Until the early 1900s Los Angeles wasn’t much bigger than any of the towns that surround it, but it grew exponentially in the 20th century and now everything else is a mere suburb. It expanded its municipal boundaries in the early 1900s to include the San Fernando Valley, named for its Mission, San Fernando Rey de España; so now Los Angeles has two missions within its city limits.

    2) San Juan Capistrano is located in the town of San Juan Capistrano, conveniently named, which is in southern Orange County, about halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego. Sacramento wasn’t actually founded during the Spanish colonial period. The Spanish only got to the San Francisco Bay area, and they named the two big rivers flowing into it ‘Sacramento’ and ‘San Joaquín’. When a town was founded further up the Sacramento River, it was named for it, but the Sacramento and San Joaquín Valleys were mostly outside the range of Spanish missionary efforts. They only got as far north as Sonoma (Mission San Francisco Solano) on the north side of the San Francisco Bay. North of that, the area was dominated by Russian trading posts, and neither the Spanish or the Russians made it very far inland.

    Anyways, a bit of a ramble, but I hope it’s helpful! Gràcies!

    • hi stephen,
      i can’t tell you how much i appreciate your comment and, also, your corrections. thank you very much.

      • Dear Mallorcaphotoblog,
        I seek permission (ASAP) to reprint your above photo for a book on Padre Serra. Also am interested in one you did, I believe, of the interior of the Cathedral of Palma (la Seu) with the rose window brightly shining.
        Thank you, Greg

  2. The Mission in Carmel, California containing Serra’s remains has continued as a place of public veneration. The burial location of Serra is southeast of the altar and is marked with an inscription in the floor of the sanctuary. Other relics are remnants of the wood from Serra’s coffin on display next to the sanctuary, and personal items belonging to Serra on display in the mission museums. A bronze and marble sarcophagus depicting Serra’s life was completed in 1924 by Catalan sculptor Joseph A. Mora. Father Serra’s remains have not been transferred to the sarcophagus.

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