St. Junipero Serra was born in Spain in the 18th century. As a teenager, Serra attended school with the Franciscans which eventually led him to become one himself. After he was ordained to the priesthood, he achieved a doctorate in Theology and dedicated much of his time to academic instruction. It wasn’t long before Serra yearned to become a missionary to the new world of America.

He first made the journey to present day Mexico where he accompanied conquistadors on his journeys to the various missions of the regions. He even began building some of his own missions. In a race to be the first to settle and evangelize California, Serra was appointed president to the already existing missions in Baja. In his time in California, he founded many new missions which have now become major cities (San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Clara, etc). It is said that he baptized over 6,000 Native Americans before he died. He was canonized by Pope Francis in 2015 and became the first saint to be canonized in the United States.