San Xavier del Bac Mission was founded by Father Kino, a Jesuit, in 1692 on the Spanish frontier and to Christianize the natives. It continues to serve the Tohono O’odham nation with regular mass and services.
The current buildings were constructed 1783-1797 in a Spanish Colonial style. Each year a pilgrimage of thousands come on foot to worship. There is a school, tribal offices for the natives, and a market place.
The interior of the nave was very elaborate with decorative carvings, murals, statuary, etc. A courtyard is attached, with a museum at the edge. And, a walkway goes around to a gift shop.
Well tended gardens surround the main church and outside chapel. A sacred grotto is on nearby hill. In front of the mission was a large field where natives were setup with food and craft booths.
Camp: Overnight at Casino del Sol
Scene: Mission, chapel, gardens
Stunning photos! It looks like an amazing place in excellent condition. My sister plans to retire to Tucson and vacations there. I’ll have to ask her if she’s visited the mission. Thanks for sharing the photos! — VT
An interesting place; and, I’m amazed it has continued to see the church and natives for so long.
While living in AZ for 7 years, we went to the Mission many times – a very beautiful location.
A friend advised that I should go see it; and, I’m glad I did.
It truly is an amazing place. “The White Dove of The Desert” as some call it. Do they still have the statue on inside the church on one side of the pews, that only those who are free of sin can lift? That sticks in my mind. It was unique to see how some of the native traditions were mixed with the Catholic ones.
Yes, the figure is still there; and some tried their luck. The blending of native beliefs was to encourage their participation I suppose.