Monday, March 28, 2016

Mission of San Xavier de Bac

I love visiting missions. There's just something about the history that swirls around them...

Mission San Xavier ("Ha-vee-ay") de Bac is located about 10 miles south of Tucson, and we were very fortunate to arrive just as a tour was beginning.
The mission is a National Historic Landmark, founded in 1692 by Father Eusebio Kino, although the current building dates to the late 1700s. It is the oldest intact European structure in Arizona. Note that the tower on the right is not finished.
Outside the walls are beautifully landscaped areas, with native plants including blooming cacti.
Our guide was very knowledgable and spoke about the architecture and history of the mission and area. The church was built when southern Arizona was part of New Spain.
These are called milagros, or "miracles" in Spanish. They represent injured or diseased body parts and are offered to St Francis with prayers in exchange for recovery from ailments.
Worshippers pin milagros to the prone statue of San Xavier, seen in the photo above. There are many paintings and statues in the sanctuary, which is undergoing a renovation to preserve its beauty.
The church was built by local craftsmen who abandoned the project when the church ran out of money.  It was not quite finished. Local Apache Indians had something to do with this, as they would enter the mission area, hang around for a couple of days, and  then leave with any goods, women, or children they could make off with. It was a very dangerous place to be.
St. Katera Tekakwitha is the first Native American Saint, and the local Indians are very proud of her. This is the only statue that is not original to the church, as she was just recently canonized.   

1 comment:

  1. We visited last year on our way to the Titan museum. A young men's choir from a college in CA stopped and performed a couple of songs in the church. It was incredible! The acoustics in the church are wonderful.