St. Junipero Serra
St. Junipero Serra was an 18th century Franciscan missionary priest from the Island of Majorca off the Spanish coast. Until age 35 he spent most of his life as a student and professor of theology. Out of a desire to spread the Gospel in the New World, he traveled to Mexico and then to California to convert and teach the native peoples. He was an extraordinary preacher famous for his zeal for the faith. He founded the first 9 of 21 Catholic missions in California and led thousands of souls to Christ. His missionary work is foundational to the history of the state of California as well as Catholicism in the United States of America.