Today’s Saint

Daily Journey with the Saints

July 1 | Finding Your Mission (Pt. 2)

Saint Junípero Serra

A.D. 1713–1784

The thing about our mission is that it is not about us, and yet, you will quickly discover that the paradox of mission is that it is the source of our greatest happiness. 

Saint Junípero Serra found his deepest happiness on earth by devoting his unique teaching talents to care for the indigenous peoples of modern-day California.

Serra was a Franciscan friar working as a renowned professor in Spain. He used his talents to the utmost there, but didn’t feel he was bringing them to the people who needed them most. So, in 1749, Serra took a ship to Mexico. He slowly made his way up into California, teaching Native Americans along the way.

In his work with the Native Americans, Serra learned their language, but also developed a unique visual teaching technique. Whole native peoples converted to Catholicism because of his passionate teaching. When their rights or land were threatened, Serra defended them without budging.

In 1769, Serra established the first of nine mission centers in California, starting with Mission San Diego de Alcalá. These missions laid the foundations for the spread of Christianity on the Pacific coast of what is now the United States. Serra's approach to mission work was multifaceted, involving the development of agriculture, education, and infrastructure alongside spiritual instruction. He remained fully dedicated to his mission work with Native Americans until his death on August 28, 1784.

Saint Junípero Serra was a man on mission. We too are called to be men and women on mission.

Our missions have been designed to correspond with our deepest desires and our unique talents. Mission is where our talents and passions collide with the needs of others and the world. 

The mystery of our mission is revealed to us little by little. This revelation unfolds as we apply what we know to be good and true to our lives. This is how the Holy Spirit leads us. If you do not follow the light he shines on your path, he will not reveal more. For most people, most of the time, he reveals our path and mission one step at a time. If we do not take the steps he shines his light upon, he simply won't reveal the next step until we have taken the first step.

So, take the first step today. Seek one opportunity to bring a little goodness and truth into the world.


I will allow the Holy Spirit to show me my mission, one step at a time.

This reflection is brought to you from book title.

Feast Day: July 1

Feast Day Shared By: Saints Jules and Aaron and Saint Aaron

Also Known As: San Junípero Serra

Canonized: September 23, 2015

Canonized By: Pope Francis

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