6th grade English/Religion
San Gabriel Mission
Table of Contents
Junipero Serra Biography…………………………………………..1-2
General History of California Missions………………………..3
History of California Mission: San Gabriel Archangel……5
Pictures or Drawings………………………………………………….7
Miguel Jose Serra was born on the island of Majorca on November 24, 1713. Junipero Serra came from a humble beginning. His parents, Antonio Nadal Serra and Margarita Rosa Ferrer, spent their lives working the land in the town of Petra. They had him baptized on his first day in the world, giving him the name Miguel Jose. He was later educated by Franciscan monks at a local primary school. Serra was only 15 years old when he decided to join the priesthood. He moved to Palma to pursue his goal.
Serra then became a novice at the Convento de Jesus in September 1730. There he studied theology and philosophy. The following year, Serra officially joined the Franciscans and took the name “Junipero” after a friend and associate of St. Francis. The exact date of his ordination into the priesthood is unknown. Experts estimate it was sometime between 1737 and 1739. Serra then devoted much of his time to teaching. In 1742, he earned his doctorate in theology from Llullian University. Ordained in 1737, he taught philosophy and theology at the University of Padua until 1749.
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At the age of thirty-seven, he landed in Mexico City on January 1, 1750, and spent the rest of his life working for the conversion of the people of the New World. In 1768, Father Serra took over the missions of the Jesuits (who had been wrongly expelled by the government) in the Mexican province of Lower California and Upper California (modern day California). An indefatigable worker, Serra was in large part responsible for the foundation and spread of the Church on the West Coast of the United States when it was still mission territory.
He founded twenty-one missions and converted thousands of Indians. The converts were taught sound methods of agriculture, cattle raising, and arts and crafts.
Junipero was a dedicated religious and missionary. He was instilled with a penitential spirit and practiced self-discipline in sleep, eating, and other activities. On August 28, 1784, worn out by his apostolic activity, Father Serra was called to his eternal rest. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II on September 25, 1988. His statue, representing the state of California, is in National Statuary Hall. His feast day is July 1.
These missions were established to convert Native American into Christianity. Obviously not all people wanted this, and they were treated harshly. Although, others jumped right into it and began the praise and worship rituals like they had been doing it their whole life. The Native Americans that just could not seem to think it was right to convert to a way of thinking that was not their own, were treated extremely harsh by the Spanish. Father Junipero Serra committed his existence to converting and spreading the word of his God, and founded the first mission in San Diego. Many Native Americans tried to escape the Spanish rule but, were often caught and put to death.
When missions were being started the materials were hard to be imported, this forced the fathers to make use of simple building materials and methods in the construction of mission structures. They had to obtain the materials that they needed from the land around them.