Blessed Junipero Serra was born in 1713 in Spanish Majorca. He joined the Franciscans when he was 17 and was ordained in 1737. He became a missionary in western North America in 1749. He took over missions in Mexican provinces in 1768. Blessed Junipero Serra is credited with spreading the faith on the West Coast of the United States. He began 21 missions and converted and trained thousands of people. He died of tuberculosis in 1784 in California, and he was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1988. The Serra Club, a Catholic organization which promotes vocations, gets its name from Blessed Junipero Serra.