Junipero Serra was born in Mallorca, Spain in 1713 and ordained into the Franciscan priesthood in 1738. He earned a doctorate of philosophy before he set sail to Mexico in 1749. In 1769, Serra was ordered by the Spanish king to Alta California where he served as President of the missions until his death in 1784. Today his resting place is near the altar at Mission San Carlos de Borremeo.
León de Montaraz motioned toward the friar. “Ladies,” he said, “seated before you is the man who founded California. Sandal-shod, with only a crucifix to point the way, he came to teach the children. A string of thriving missions is proof of his valor and dedication. In his wake, we Californios profit. Without Father Serra’s influence, the large ranches of California would not exist.”