Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Mission San Xavier del Bac

Just south of the Tucson city limits is the Tohono O'odham Indian Reservation and this lovely mission.
Ron had never been here and it had been years since my only visit so we decided it would be a good place for Loretta to attend a mass.

 That Saturday afternoon there was an indian market set up on the mission grounds so we strolled around admiring the crafts before the service started.

When I had visited here during the '90's the mission was under renovation and much of the inside was covered with tarps and scaffolding.

I must say, they did a fantastic job of restoring it to its former glory.

I admit I have trouble with the missions and the efforts made to convert the native Americans to catholicism and christianity.

But I do concede that the religious art and architecture in the US and throughout the world is something to admire, preserve and protect. 

It reflects the talent and visions of the day, and especially the history, both good and bad, of the occupation by the Europeans in this new land.

In front of the altar we spied this tablecloth that displayed some lovely Indian symbols embroidered on it.  Hmmm.  

Mission San Xavier del Bac was founded by the Jesuit missionary, Fr. Euseblo Kino in 1692.  The present church was built under the direction of the Franciscans.  Construction began in 1783 and was completed in 1797.
The church continues to serve as the parish church for the Tohono O'odham, whose reservation surrounds the mission.

While Ron and Loretta attended Mass I sat in the courtyard  and watched the Tohono O'odham families as they packed up their jewelry, fry bread, and leatherwork and  drove away.  I did not see any of them enter the church for the mass.
What a beautiful night.  It could be 1797 again as I listened to the singing from a crystal clear strong soprano voice as it drifted out of the church and into the moonlit night air.


  1. I know what you mean about the goals of the early missionaries. There is a tremendous amount of hubris to come to a new place and announce to the populace that everything they believe is wrong. I am glad they've restored Xavier del Bac, it's a phenomenal piece of architecture.

  2. Also from Allison:

    Aaaaargh! All of my comments get bounced! Thanksgiving looked like it was fun. I'm glad you had family to come out and visit.

  3. Toni.....just checking on you...haven't heard from you in awhile

    Cousin Dean Lambert
    Many, La.