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Junipero Serra
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Religious Figure
    (November 24, 1713-August 28, 1774)
    Born in Petra, Spain
    Birth name was Miquel Josep Serra i Ferrer
    Franciscan friar
    Founded a series of missions in California
    Beatified by Pope John Paul II (1988)
    Declared a saint by Pope Francis in the first canonization ceremony held in the US (September 23, 2015)
    While preaching, he would sometimes scourge himself or apply a lit torch to his bare chest.
    He clashed repeatedly with the territorial government in California.
    The mission system, however well intended, disrupted Indian society and facilitated epidemics of smallpox and other diseases.
    With the scourgings and flaming torches, there were probably few people nodding off during his sermons.
    Despite an ulcerated leg, he travelled 4,000 miles on foot to Mexico City to petition for a bill of rights for the Indians.
    When Indians burned down the mission at San Diego, he wrote, 'If I should die a martyr's death at the hands of the native peoples, I ask that no revenge or retaliation be taken. What would be gained for our cause by such an action?'

Credit: C. Fishel

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