Verger, Rafael

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Director of San Fernando Mission College during the establishment of missions in California; b. Santasy, Mallorca, Spain, Oct. 10, 1722; d. Monterrey, Mexico, July 4, 1790. He joined the Franciscans at 17 and was ordained Dec. 17, 1746. Later he was awarded a doctor's degree, and taught for some time at the University of Mallorca. In 1749 he volunteered for missionary work in the New World. He sailed from Spain in December of that year and reached San Fernando College, Mexico, the following April. There he again engaged in teaching, but was assigned to administrative positions after a few years. For six years he served as a member of the college council; and for six additional years, as guardian of the college, he was major superior of all the missionaries of the college. Verger's appointment to high office was opportune; by temperament he was cautious, practical, and painstaking, and the college at that time was assuming charge of a large mission territory. It was during his administration that the groundwork for the California mission system was laid; and although the chief credit for the success of the system is justly attributed to Junípero serra and his successors, without guidance, inspiration, and implementation on the part of Verger, little would have been achieved at that time. In 1783 he was made bishop of Nueva Leon. As bishop, Verger transferred his see city, Monterrey, to its present advantageous location.

Bibliography: l. g. canedo, "Fray Rafael Verger en San Fernando de México" Humanitas 3 (Monterrey, Mexico 1962) 551575. c. pÉrez-maldonado, El Obispado (Monterrey, Mexico 1947).

[f. kenneally]