franciscain missionnaire en Californie (✝ 1784)
Franciscain, le frère Juniper Michaël Serra a transmis la lumière du Christ en Californie, aux pauvres et aux humbles.
À Monterey en Californie, en 1784, le bienheureux Juniper (Michel Serra), prêtre franciscain. Malgré beaucoup de fatigues et d’épreuves, il prêcha l’Évangile aux tribus de cette région encore païennes dans leur propre langue et défendit avec beaucoup de force les droits des pauvres et des humbles.
Le Bienheureux Jupinero Serra
Le Père de la Californie
Le Bienheureux Jupinero Serra est considéré comme le père de la Californie et, à ce titre, il jouit d'une réputation bien méritée, comme l'un des pionniers des Etats Unis. Sa statue monumentale est érigée à Washington, devant le capitale - pourtant, il ne vint que tardivement en Californie, qu'il organisa comme une Mission modèle, mais il a laissé la plus grande partie de son ministère missionnaire au Mexique.
De l'Espagne au Nouveau Monde
Michel-Joseph Serra est né le 24 novembre 1713 à Petra, village de l'île de Majorque. Dès son jeune âge, il fréquenta le couvent Franciscain de Saint Bernardin, à Petra, et entra au noviciat des Frères Mineurs le 14 septembre 1730, au Couvent de de Jésus de Palma de Majorque. Il y fit profession un an plus tard et reçut le nom de Junipero. Assez doué pour les études, il effectua son cursus d'études cléricales au Couvent Royal Saint François de Palma de Majorque, puis à l'Université Lulliène de Palma où il obtint le titre de Docteur en Théologie, puis il fut chargé d'une chaire de doctrine Scotiste.
En 1749, il demanda l'autorisation de partir comme Missionnaire Apostolique en Nouvelle Espagne, (actuel Mexique). Il reçut en fin d'année l'autorisation du Commissaire Général des Indes, et partit pour Mexico. Il était âgé de 36 ans quand il atteignit le port de Vera Cruz, puis la ville de Mexico, en décembre 1749. Pendant 17 années, il évangélisa les populations Indiennes, avec beaucoup de zèle, de Charité et d'efficacité, ne ménageant ni sa peine, ni la mise en oeuvre de ses qualités d'organisateur.
Les Missions Californiennes
En 1767, les Missionnaires Jésuites ayant du quitter les Missions qu'ils avaient fondées en Amérique Latine, Frère Jupinero fut chargé d'administrer les 14 Missions de Basse-Californie (Californie Mexicaine). Mais peu après, les rivalités politiques entre l'Espagne, l'Amérique et la Russie (qui s'établissait en Alaska), provoquèrent une expédition Espagnole en Haute Californie, et Junipero fit chargé d'y fonder des Missions Catholiques. Il commença près de l'actuelle frontière Mexicaine, en fondant la Mission de San Diego d'Alcala, qui est à l'origine de l'actuelle ville de San Diego (Etats Unis).
On lui attribue l'évangélisation et le Baptême d'un dixième de la population Indienne de la Californie. Ayant beaucoup marché à pied durant toute sa vie missionnaire, il imagina la création de postes Missionnaires à une journée de marche les uns des autres (environ tous les 30 kilomètres), le long de la côte Californienne (de San Diego à San Francisco). C'est pourquoi, l'on trouve encore, de nos jours, les principales villes, le long de la côte, portent les noms des missions fondée par Junipero, ou par ses collaborateurs. Ces noms étaient tirés du sanctiral Franciscain. Il fonda lui-même, près de 8 Missions, dont celle de San Juan de Capistrano, en 1776, année de l'Indépendance de l'Amérique.
Il mourut dans la Mission de San Juan Carlos, à Carmel, le 28 août 1784, mission où il fut inhumé. La Californie Franciscaine comptait 21 Misssions, portant la plupart des noms de Saints Franciscains, dont, par exemple Notre Dame des Anges, actuelle Los Angelès, en hommage à Sainte Marie des Anges, sanctuaire situé à Assise et berceau de la Famille Franciscaine.
Frère Jupinero Serra fut béatifié par le Serviteur de Dieu Jean Paul II le 25 septembre 1988, à Rome. De nos jours, l'Université de San Diego entretient sa mémoire et a suscité un grand nombre d'études sur l'oeuvre missionnaire du Bienheureux Jupinero Serra. Les "Missions de Californie" sont aujourd'hui des sites touristiques très fréquentés par les Américains en quête de retrouver leur racines. Quelques Missions anciennes sont aujourd'hui réoccupées par les Franciscains, comme les Missions de San Diego d'Alcala, San Luis Reis, ou Santa Barbara.
Texte recopié sur le site http://fr.wikitau.org
Portraits du Bienheureux Jupinero Serra
Blessed Junipero Serra
In 1776, when the American revolution was beginning in the east, another part of the future United States was being born in California. That year a gray-robed Franciscan founded Mission San Juan Capistrano, now famous for its annually returning swallows. San Juan was the seventh of nine missions established under the direction of this indomitable Spaniard. Born on Spain’s island of Mallorca, Serra entered the Franciscan Order, taking the name of Saint Francis’ childlike companion, Brother Juniper. Until he was thirty-five, he spent most of his time in the classroom-first as a student of theology and then as a professor. He also became famous for his preaching. Suddenly he gave it all up and followed the yearning that had begun years before when he heard about the missionary work of Saint Francis Solanus in South America. Junipero’s desire was to convert native peoples in the New World.
Arriving by ship at Vera Cruz, Mexico, he and a companion walked the 250 miles to Mexico City. On the way Junipero’s left leg became infected by an insect bite and would remain a cross, often life-threatening, the rest of his life. For eighteen years he worked in central Mexico and in the Baja Peninsula. He became president of the missions there.
Charles III of Spain ordered an expedition to beat Russia to the territory. So the last two conquistadores-one military, one spiritual-began their quest. Jose de Galvez persuaded Junipero to set out with him for present-day Monterey, California. The first mission founded after the nine-hundred-mile journey north was San Diego (1769). That year a shortage of food almost canceled the expedition. Vowing to stay with the local people, Junipero and another friar began a novena in preparation for Saint Joseph’s day, March 19, the scheduled day of departure. On that day, the relief ship arrived.
Other missions followed: Monterey/Carmel (1770); San Antonio and San Gabriel (1771); San Luis Obispo (1772); San Francisco and San Juan Capistrano (1776); Santa Clara (1777); San Buenaventura (1782). Twelve more were founded after Serra’s death.
Junipero made the long trip to Mexico City to settle great differences with the military commander. He arrived at the point of death. The outcome was substantially what Junipero sought: the famous “Regulation” protecting the Indians and the missions. It was the basis for the first significant legislation in California, a “Bill of Rights” for Native Americans.
Because the Native Americans were living a nonhuman life from the Spanish point of view, the friars were made their legal guardians. The Native Americans were kept at the mission after Baptism lest they be corrupted in their former haunts — a move that has brought cries of “injustice” from some moderns.
Junipero’s missionary life was a long battle with cold and hunger, with unsympathetic military commanders and even with danger of death from non-Christian native peoples. Through it all his unquenchable zeal was fed by prayer each night, often from midnight until dawn. He baptized over six thousand people and confirmed five thousand. His travels would have circled the globe. He brought the Native Americans not only the gift of faith but also a decent standard of living. He won their love, as witnessed especially by their grief at his death. He is buried at Mission San Carlo Borromeo, Carmel, and was beatified in 1988.
Born at Petra, Island of Majorca, 24 November, 1713; died at Monterey, California, 28 August, 1784.
On 14 September, 1730, he entered the Franciscan Order. For his proficiency in studies he was appointed lectorof philosophy before his ordination to the priesthood. Later he received the degree of Doctor of Theology from the Lullian University at Palma, where he also occupied the Duns Scotus chair of philosophy until he joined the missionary college of San Fernando, Mexico (1749). While traveling on foot from Vera Cruz to the capital, he injured his leg in such a way that he suffered from it throughout his life, though he continued to make his journeys on foot whenever possible. At his own request he was assigned to the Sierra Gorda Indian Missionssome thirty leagues north of Querétaro. He served there for nine years, part of the time as superior, learned the language of the Pame Indians, and translated the catechism into their language. Recalled to Mexico, he became famous as a most fervent and effective preacher of missions. His zeal frequently led him to employ extraordinary means in order to move the people to penance. He would pound his breast with a stone while in the pulpit, scourge himself, or apply a lighted torch to his bare chest. In 1767 he was appointed superior of a band of fifteenFranciscans for the Indian Missions of Lower California. Early in 1769 he accompanied Portolá's land expedition to Upper California. On the way (14 May) he established the Mission San Fernando de Velicatá, Lower California. He arrived at San Diego on 1 July, and on 16 July founded the first of the twenty-one California missions which accomplished the conversions of all the natives on the coast as far as Sonoma in the north. Those established by Father Serra or during his administration were San Carlos (3 June, 1770); San Antonio (14 July, 1771); San Gabriel (8 September, 1771); San Luis Obispo (1 September, 1772); San Francisco de Asis (8 October, 1776); San Juan Capistrano (1 Nov. 1776); Santa Clara (12 January, 1777); San Buenaventura (31 March, 1782). He was also present at the founding of the presidio of Santa Barbara (21 April, 1782), and was prevented from locating the mission there at the time only through the animosity of Governor Philipe de Neve. Difficulties with Pedro Fages, the military commander, compelled Father Serra in 1773 to lay the case before Viceroy Bucareli. At the capital of Mexico, by order of the viceroy, he drew up his "Representación" in thirty-two articles. Everythingsave two minor points was decided in his favour; he then returned to California, late in 1774. In 1778 he received the faculty to administer the Sacrament of Confirmation. After he had exercised his privilege for a year, Governor Neve directed him to suspend administering the sacrament until he could present the papal Brief. For nearly two years Father Serra refrained, and then Viceroy Majorga gave instructions to the effect that Father Serra was within his rights. During the remaining three years of his life he once more visited the missions fromSan Diego to San Francisco, six hundred miles, in order to confirm all who had been baptized. He suffered intensely from his crippled leg and from his chest, yet he would use no remedies. He confirmed 5309 persons, who, with but few exceptions, were Indians converted during the fourteen years from 1770. Besides extraordinary fortitude, his most conspicuous virtues were insatiable zeal, love of mortification, self-denial, andabsolute confidence in God. His executive abilities has been especially noted by non-Catholic writers. The esteem in which his memory is held by all classes in California may be gathered from the fact that Mrs. Stanford, not aCatholic, had a granite monument erected to him at Monterey. A bronze statue of heroic size represents him as the apostolic preacher in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. In 1884 the Legislature of California passed a concurrent resolution making 29 August of that year, the centennial of Father Serra's burial, a legal holiday. Of his writings many letters and other documentation are extant. The principal ones are his "Diario" of the journey from Loreto to San Diego, which was published in "Out West" (March to June, 1902), and the "Representación" before mentioned.
PALOU, Noticias de la Nueva California (San Francisco, 1774); IDEM, Relacion historica de la vida y apostolicas tarcas del Ven. P. Fr. Junípero Serra (Mexico City, 1787); Santa Barbara Mission Archives; San Carlos Mission Records; ENGELHARDT, Missions and Missionaries of California, I (San Francisco, 1886); GLEESON, Catholic Church in California, II (San Francisco, 1871); HITTELL, History of California, I (San Francisco, 1885); JAMES, In and Out of the Missions (New York, 1905).
Engelhardt, Zephyrin. "Junípero Serra." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 13. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 23 Mar. 2015 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13730b.htm>.
Engelhardt, Zephyrin. "Junípero Serra." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 13. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 23 Mar. 2015 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13730b.htm>.
FATHER JUNÍPERO SERRA: BIOGRAPHY
. . When Father Junípero Serra founded California's first mission in 1769, he was 56 years old and asthmatic, with a chronic sore on his leg that troubled him for the rest of his life, and he suffered frequently from other illnesses, as well. He stood just 5 feet, 2 inches, and, as a journalist later wrote, "He certainly didn't look like the man who would one day be known as the Apostle of California." Yet he endured the hardships of the frontier and pressed forward with remarkable determination to fulfill his purpose: to convert the Native Americans of California to Christianity.
. . In pursuit of that goal, Father Serra walked thousands of miles between San Diego and Monterey and even Mexico City. He traveled the seas, also; and by the time he died August 28, 1784, in Carmel he had founded nine missions, introduced agriculture and irrigation techniques, and the Spanish language. He had battled governors, bureaucrats and military commanders to secure a system of laws to protect the California Indians from at least some of the injustices inflicted by the Spanish soldiers whose practices often were in conflict with Father Serra's.
. . Father Serra had been a philosophy professor and distinguished preacher at the Convent of San Francisco in Mallorca, the Spanish island where he was born in 1713. He was 36 years old when he reached the port of Vera Cruz, Mexico, on December 8, 1749, and walked to Mexico City. ( It was during that journey of 24 days that an insect bite caused the sore on his leg that sometimes became so painful he had difficulty walking. ) He spent 17 years in missionary work in the Sierra Gorda in the present area of North-Central Mexico. In 1767 he became president of the 14 missions in Baja California, originally founded by the Jesuits, then turned over to the Franciscans.
. . At that time, faced with the threat of Russian colonization from the north, Spain had committed itself to pushing northward into what is now the American state of California. Russian America (Alaska) was only 800 miles away. Spain feared that Russia would push south and gain a firm foothold in Alta California. The Spanish military launched an expedition into California in 1769 under the leadership of Gaspar de Portola. Father Serra set out with them to establish missions.
. . Serra's blessing of the site of Mission San Diego de Alcala on July 16, 1769, marked the beginning of the European settlement of California.
. . Between the years of 1796 and 1784, Father Serra made six voyages by sea totaling 5,400 miles. He traveled by land the distance between Monterey and San Francisco eight times, Monterey and San Antonio 11 times, His longest journey by land was from Monterey to Mexico City. In total, he traveled well over 5,500 miles by land.
. . Father Serra arrived at Monterey aboard the sailing ship San Antonio on June 1, 1770. He celebrated the first Mass on June 3, 1770, on the shore of Monterey Bay, where we now find the city of Monterey.
. . He returned to San Diego to work on the mission there, then founded Mission San Juan Capistrano in 1776, the year of the American Declaration of Independence.
. . When Father Serra died in 1784 he had established nine California missions and baptized 6,000 Indians, about 10 percent of the California Native American population. Those nine missions grew to 21. Today, more than 60 percent of the state's nearly 26 million people live in areas surrounding the missions, and El Camino Real, the road that Father Serra traveled on a tour of the missions shortly before this death, established a major artery running much of the length of the state.
August 28th is the anniversary of the death of Father Serra, and is set aside in special remembrance of his many contributions to the Catholic Church in America.
Bl. Junipero Serra
Feastday: July 1
Patron of Vocations
1713 - 1784
Beatified By: Pope John Paul II
Miguel Jose Serra was born on the island of Majorca on November 24, 1713, and took the name of Junipero when in 1730, he entered the Franciscan Order. Ordained in 1737, he taught philosophy and theology at the University of Padua until 1749.
At the age of thirty-seven, he landed in Mexico City on January 1, 1750, and spent the rest of his life working for the conversion of the peoples of the New World.
In 1768, Father Serra took over the missions of the Jesuits (who had been wrongly expelled by the government)in the Mexican province of Lower California and Upper California (modern day California). An indefatigable worker, Serra was in large part responsible for the foundation and spread of the Church on the West Coast of the United States when it was still mission territory.
He founded twenty-one missions and converted thousands of Indians. The converts were taught sound methods of agriculture, cattle raising, and arts and crafts.
Junipero was a dedicated religious and missionary. He was imbued with a penitential spirit and practiced austerity in sleep, eating, and other activities. On August 28, 1784, worn out by his apostolic labors, Father Serra was called to his eternal rest. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II on September 25, 1988. His statue, representing the state of California, is in National Statuary Hall. His feast day is July 1.
A priest in the Franciscan order of the Catholic Church, Junipero Serra was a driving force in the Spanish conquest and colonization of what is now the state of California.
Serra was born into a humble family on the Spanish island of Mallorca in the Mediterranean Ocean. His parents sent him to a nearby Franciscan school, and his intellectual abilities soon caught the attention of his teachers. At age fifteen he enrolled in a prominent Franciscan school in the nearby city of Palma. The next year he became a novice in the Franciscan order and shortly thereafter was ordained as a priest.
Serra's intellectual acumen and enormous willpower secured his appointment as a professor of theology at the tender age of twenty-four. Six years later, in 1743, he moved on to a professorship at the prestigious Lullian University.
Despite his success as a pulpit orator and professor, Serra hungered for something more. In 1749 he secured permission to travel with some fellow Franciscans who intended to devote themselves to work at a mission near Mexico City. Serra took the long sea voyage to Spain's colonies. Despite ill health from the voyage, upon his arrival in Vera Cruz he insisted on walking all the way to Mexico City, a distance of over two hundred miles. This was the first of many feats of physical stamina and willpower which were to make the Franciscan a legend in his own time.
For some fifteen years, Serra worked in Mexico at much the same tasks as he had in Spain, although he took on missionary work to nearby Indian peoples in addition to preaching, hearing confessions, and helping to administrate Mexico City's College of San Fernando.
In 1767 the Spanish emperor's expulsion of the Jesuits from Spain's colonies led the government to ask the Franciscan Order to replace them as missionaries in Baja (lower) California. Serra was appointed head of these missions. The next year the Spanish governor decided to explore and found missions in Alta (upper) California, the area which is now the state of California. This project was intended both to Christianize the extensive Indian populations and to serve Spain's strategic interest by preventing Russian explorations and possible claims to North America's Pacific coast.
Serra spent the rest of his life as head of the Franciscans in Alta California. Already over fifty years old, dangerously thin, asthmatic, and seriously injured in one of his legs, the undaunted Serra led the founding of the Mission of San Diego in 1769, aided an expedition in locating San Francisco Bay, and personally founded eight other missions, including his lifelong headquarters, the mission San Carlos Borromeo at Carmel. His Herculean efforts subjected him to near-starvation, afflictions of scurvy, and hundreds of miles of walking and horse riding through dangerous terrain. Moreover, he was notorious for his mortifications of the flesh: wearing heavy shirts with sharp wires pointed inward, whipping himself to the point of bleeding, and using a candle to scar the flesh of his chest. His sacrifices bore fruit for the missionaries; by his death in 1784, the nine missions he had founded had a nominally converted Indian population of nearly 5,000.
Serra argued with the Spanish Army over the proper authority of the Franciscans in Alta California, which he thought should subsume that of military commanders. In 1773 he convinced the authorities in Mexico City to increase financial and military support for expansion of his missions, and to expand the authority of the Franciscans over both the army and the baptized mission Indians. He also urged Mexican officials to establish an overland route to Alta California, a suggestion which led to colonizing expeditions from New Mexico which established civilian settlements at San Francisco in 1776 and at Los Angeles in 1781.
Serra wielded this kind of political power because his missions served economic and political purposes as well as religious ends. The number of civilian colonists in Alta California never exceeded 3,200, and the missions with their Indian populations were critical to keeping the region within Spain's political orbit. Economically, the missions produced all of the colony's cattle and grain, and by the 1780's were even producing surpluses sufficient to trade with Mexico for luxury goods.
Despite the frequent conflicts between military and religious authority, for Alta California's Indians the missions and their Franciscan administrators were part and parcel of an enormously destructive colonization process. The Spanish, largely through disease, were responsible for a population decline from about 300,000 Indians in 1769 to about 200,000 by 1821. The strenuous work regime and high population density within the missions themselves also caused high death rates among the mission Indians. By law, all baptized Indians subjected themselves completely to the authority of the Franciscans; they could be whipped, shackled or imprisoned for disobedience, and hunted down if they fled the mission grounds. Indian recruits, who were often forced to convert nearly at gunpoint, could be expected to survive mission life for only about ten years. As one Friar noted, the Indians "live well free but as soon as we reduce them to a Christian and community life... they fatten, sicken, and die."
Junipero Serra is still a well-known figure in California, a virtual icon of the colonial era whose statue stands in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park and in the U.S. Capital. In 1987 Pope John Paul II beatified Serra, the second of three steps necessary for the Church's bestowal of formal sainthood. Many Indians and academics condemned this decision, pointing to the harsh conditions of mission life and Serra's own justification of beatings. (In 1780, Serra wrote: "that spiritual fathers should punish their sons, the Indians, with blows appears to be as old as the conquest of [the Americas]; so general in fact that the saints do not seem to be any exception to the rule.") Defenders of Serra cited the context of his times, his enormous personal sacrifices and religious zeal, and his opposition to punitive military expeditions against the Indians as exonerating factors. More than two centuries after his death, Junipero Serra is still a pivotal figure in California history and the history of the American West, this time as a flashpoint for controversy over European treatment of Indians.
Voir aussi : http://www.serra.org/