Today’s guest is Linda Gondosch. Linda and I have been friends for…hmmm…a LOT of years. We were unpublished when we met and attended many writers groups and programs together. Linda has now published several children’s books. I am always amazed at how well she can get into the head of a child and write her stories from their point of view. She has had a lot of success with her fiction, and enjoys doing school visits to interact with kids. She has also written some non-fiction books for children, including, Where Did Sacagawea Join the Corps of Discovery?: And Other Questions about the Lewis and Clark Expedition. She wrote one about Junipero Serra, too, and that one has just been published. Here’s what Linda has to say about her new book:
Junípero Serra: Founder of the California Missions
Michele, thanks to you and Ron for telling me about the September 23 canonization of Junipero Serra during Pope Francis’s visit to the United States. As a result of your urging, I submitted the manuscript to Ignatius Press and they published it on October 15, 2015. A great big thank you!
Junípero Serra: Founder of the California Missions is a biography for ages 9 and up about the intrepid Franciscan friar who founded the first nine missions along the California coast in the 1700s, opening the area to European settlement. He was born Miguel José Serra on the poverty ridden Spanish island of Majorca in the Mediterranean Sea. Although small and frail, his mind was strong, and he possessed a beautiful singing voice. He was sent to a Franciscan school and eventually obtained a prestigious teaching position at the Convent of San Francisco in Palma.
But Serra had a dream. He wished above all to become a missionary to the New World and serve where no Christian had ever been. At age thirty-five he journeyed across the ocean, surviving a hurricane, and landed in Mexico in 1749. Although he suffered from a painful, ulcerated leg most of his life, as well as asthma, Serra still managed to cover great distances as he journeyed through Mexico, working among the Native Americans.
At age fifty-five Serra jumped at the chance to join the “Sacred Expedition,” a group of Spanish soldiers, Christian Indians, and Franciscan friars who traveled north to the area known today as California. It was there that Saint JuníperoSerra opened the first nine of an eventual twenty-one missions, preached his Catholic faith, and taught natives the Spanish language and life skills. By his death at age seventy, nine missions had been opened that eventually grew into the coastal towns and cities of California. Saint Serra, the first Hispanic saint in the United States, had a huge impact on the settling of the American West.
“Always forward. Never turn back,” is a motto that Serra lived by his whole life. When Californians chose the “most important people” from their state, they chose JuníperoSerra to have his statue placed in Statuary Hall in the Capitol in Washington, DC.Pope Francis considered him a man unafraid to venture to the ends of the earth in order to spread the Gospel message. According to the pontiff, “He was the evangelizer of the West in the United States.”
Large full color illustrations were done by the renowned French illustrator, Emmanuel Beaudesson. Bibliography, timeline, and a homily by Pope Francis are included.
To find out more about Linda Gondosch, visit her website.
Ignatius Press: www.ignatius.com/IProducts/278728/junípero-serra.aspx