Our History

Serra USA

Serra USA was formed in 1935. It happened when a small group of lay people in Seattle decided to form an organization to promote and foster vocations to the priesthood and consecrated religious life. As a result, they chose Father Junipero Serra, the great missionary, as their patron and named the organization SERRA Club of Seattle.


Serra Club of Johnson County

The Serra Club of Johnson County was organized in 1999, at the request of Archbishop James Keleher. His desire was to establish a Serra club with membership comprised of both lay men and women.  Charter members still active in the Serra Club of Johnson County recall an initial membership roster of 99 men and women.  The first meeting occurred on April 26, 1999. Mark Ledom was the first club president.


Our Patron - Saint Junípero Serra

Not only because of his place in American history as a founder of missions in Mexico and California, but also because of his life of priestly zeal and heroic virtue, Fr. Junípero Serra, OFM, was chosen as the patron of our apostolate. This gifted Franciscan friar had occupied the Duns Scotus chair of philosophy in Mallorca, Spain, until he felt the call to commit himself further to the service of Christ as a missionary in the New World. Departing from Cadiz, Spain, in 1748, he made the perilous crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in a small ship, landing at Veracruz, Mexico, on the southern shore of the Gulf of Mexico. From there, he journeyed on foot to Mexico City, where tradition has it that he prayed at the church built on Tepeyac hill, where the Virgin of Guadalupe appeared to St. Juan Diego in 1531.

Fr. Junípero Serra was transferred to the Sierra Gorda region (to the north and west of Mexico City) at his own request and was appointed President of the Sierra Gorda missions in 1751. After nine years, he was asked to undertake his missionary work some 1,200 km away on the Pacific coast of the North American continent, much of the time suffering with an ulcerated leg. Fr. Serra and his fellow Franciscan friars eventually established a chain of missions in Alta, California and worked tirelessly to bring Christ to the indigenous peoples.

After a lengthy period of missionary activity, Fr. Serra died in 1784 at the San Carlos Borroméo de Carmelo Mission, in Carmel, California, his favorite mission.

During his time as a missionary, Father Serra had very little involvement with promoting priestly vocations. Despite this fact, it can only be considered providential that a holy priest who demonstrated such zeal for the salvation of souls would become the patron of the Serran vocations apostolate, the work of which is the fostering and promotion of vocations to the holy priesthood and to supporting the sacred ministry of priests, those who spend and consume themselves for the salvation of souls.

St. Junípero Serra was canonized by His Holiness Pope Francis on Sept. 23, 2015, in Washington, D.C.

Always forward. Never back. 
 -St. Junípero Serra