On Wednesday, July 1, the Feast Day of Franciscan monk, Junipero Serra, was celebrated. In Catholicism, a specific day is designated to a saint or holy person in recognition of their service to the faith. Those given the status of saint or holy person are those who lived a faithful life, were humble servants of the Lord, and committed acts of heroism. Junipero is on the path to sainthood and will most likely be canonized in September when Pope Francis visits the U.S.!
A bit of information about Blessed* Junipero Serra:
- born November 24, 1713 in Petra, Majorca // died August 28, 1784 in Carmel, California
- founded 9 California Missions // founded 1st mission on July 16, 1769
- baptized 6k and confirmed 5k Native Americans
- beatified on September 25, 1988 by Pope John Paul II
- his motto was “Always forward, never back”
- visit this website for more information: http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/Saints/saint.aspx?id=1431&calendar=1
My interest in JS is relatively new – in that my husband and I just discovered him, and his missionary work, last year.
While brainstorming baby names, we were a little unsure about our middle name choice for a girl. We searched for saint and biblical names, but didn’t find anything that we liked. Traditionally, choosing that type of name for a child is common in the Christian faith. We felt it would be very important for Vienna to have a name that would embody our faith and give her a role model to look up to. Being that Vienna is not commonly used as a baby name, it was hard to find something to pair with it. However, for the most part, we were settled on that name June as it is my birth month and also pays homage to the J (first or middle) names that our grandmothers possess – Jean and Joan.
Upon further research, I came across a calendar of Catholic Feast Days (in link above) and noticed Junipero’s on July 1. After reading more about his life, I was able to draw a few connections between him and our name choice of June. I knew it was meant to be. I shared this information with my husband and he agreed – he was more confident about the name. Then it was about whether or not we would have a girl since we opted not to find out the sex of our baby!
Joyfully, it all worked out – we got our Vienna June! And each time we say her middle name, we are reminded of Bl. Junipero Serra and the impact he has already made on our life as parents and Catholics.
The connections between Bl. Junipero Serra + Vienna June are as follows:
- JS was a Franciscan monk who founded many missions in California. My husband and I honeymooned in California and it was on that trip that we conceived our child.
- JS’s feast day is July 1 (also my grandmother’s birthday) and our daughter was born near the end of July.
- Besides often calling her June, another of our daughter’s nicknames is Juni, which is also the beginning of Junipero’s first name
May we continue to strive to live like Blessed Junipero Serra and move “always forward, never back.”
*There are three steps on the path to sainthood: Servant of the Lord, Blessed (holy person), and Saint.