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Monday, 28 September 2020

Junipero Serra Founder of the California Missions - Linda Gondosch and Emmanuel Beaudesson

Junipero Serra Founder of the California Missions 
Emmanuel Beaudesson (Illustrator)
ISBN 9781621640622


My youngest daughter loves reading about saints. And after attacks on statues of this saint I decided we both needed to know more about this man of God. I had encountered his story in my studies and in more general books. There are many books about this saint and a few from his own pen. I picked this one for my daughter and The Man Who Founded California: The Life of Blessed Junipero Serra by M.N.L. Couve De Murville because I trust the publishers. Saint Junipero was beatified in 1987 by Saint John Paul II, and he was canonized in 2015 by Pope Francis. This volume was published in that canonization year. The volume begins with a list of the 9 missions founded by Junipero Serra:

1769 Mission San Diego de Alcala
1770 Mission Dan Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo
1771 Mission San Antonio de Padua
1771 Mission San Gabriel Arcangel
1772 Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa
1776 Mission San Francisco de Asis
1776 Mission San Juan Capistrano
1777 Mission Santa Clara de Asis
1782 Mission San Buenaventura

And is followed by an excerpt from the homily of canonization from May 2nd 2015. That except begins with:

“Junipero Serra was a tireless missionary. Like Paul and Barnabas, like the disciples in Antoich and in all of Judea, he was filled with the Holy Spirit in spreading the word if the Lord. Such zeal excites us, it challenges us! These missionary disciples moved by the grace of the Holy Spirit, went out to all the geographical, social, and existential peripheries, to bear witness to charity. They challenge us!

and it ends with:

“Brothers and sisters, let us contemplate the witness of holiness give by Friar Junipero. He was one of the founding fathers of the United States, a saintly example of the Church’s universality, and special patron of the Hispanic people of the country. In this way may all Americans unite themselves ever more closely to Christ and the Church.”

It is amazing the changes in public opinion in just a five-year time span. The book ends with a timeline that goes from Miguel Jose Serra’s birth on November 24th 1713 to his death at the age of 70 on August 28th 1784. Towards the end of the story we are told:

“When Junipero Serra came as a missionary to the New World, he did not know what a large role he would play in the history of California. His only wish was to tell the Indians about the love of Christ, but by founding the first nine California missions, he began the European settlement of what is now the state of California.”

This is the story of a man who lived to serve. A man who served through daily pain. He fought to protect the natives and stood up to the soldiers. He lived to spread the message of God’s love. So, pick up this book and read about this man, and his amazing journey. Beautiful illustrations by Emmanuel Beaudesson. It is a wonderful volume for younger readers about this incredible saint.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2020 Catholic Reading Plan!

Other books about Saint Junipero Serra:
The Man Who Founded California: The Life of Blessed Junipero Serra - M.N.L. Couve De Murville 

Books illustrated by Emmanuel Beaudesson:
Our Holy Father, the Pope: The Papacy from Saint Peter to the Present - Don R. Caffery
Let's Pray the Rosary - Mauricette Vial-Andru,
Mother Teresa of Calcutta - Francine Bay






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