The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 54, July 1950 - April, 1951 Page: 504
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
others have dared to imply that there were disciples greater and
better than he; still others have written about him in a manner
designed only to suit the public taste. No other biographer,
however, not even Palou, a missionary companion, has portrayed
his soul, and in his soul lay his secret.
Junipero Serra was a Franciscan missionary who began his
career among the Indians of Sierra Gorda, northeast of Quere-
taro, in 1750. Later he was appointed for the San Saba mission
in Texas. When that project failed to materialize, he went to
Mexico City. In 1767, when the Franciscans of the College of
San Fernando replaced the banished Jesuits in Lower California,
he was sent as presidente to that new field. At the instance of
Jose de Galv6z, the authorities of San Fernando agreed to coop-
erate with the government by founding missions in Upper Cali-
fornia. Accordingly five Franciscans presided over by Serra went
northward with Gaspar de PortolA. In July, 1769, San Diego mis-
sion, the first of twenty-one eventually erected on the California
coast, was founded. During the presidency of Serra eight others
were founded, more than six thousand Indians were baptized,
and five thousand more confirmed. Under his guidance and in-
spiration Spain's hold on California became secure.
This historical and psychological study required eight years of
research and was begun because of a letter the author read in
October, 1940. The letter was written by Junipero Serra in July,
1774, as an appeal to Viceroy Bucareli y Ursua concerning Cap-
tain Pedro Fages, whose recall Serra had recently requested. In
this letter Serra renounced all his personal merits both present
and future, which he might have acquired in the service of the
King, in favor of the advancement of Fages, and in such a manner
that Fages never learned the reason for his promotion. This su-
preme act of charity, showing abundant love for one who had by
his harsh discipline and dictatorial manner persecuted Serra dur-
ing his regime, revealed to the author Serra's magnanimity. This
interest led to a review of all the documents connected with his
life and work. The author's research during those eight years in
the missions and archives of California, Mexico, and Texas dis-
closed a rich collection of 272 original Serra documents.
Most of the book deals with Serra's hardships, both physical
and mental, in establishing the missions of California during the
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 54, July 1950 - April, 1951, periodical, 1951; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101133/m1/656/: accessed July 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.