March 2014 - Tucson AZ
I posted about our day in Tucson separately. This mission was too special to include within a general post.
MISSION SAN XAVIER DEL BAC was founded in 1692 by a Jesuit missionary, Father Eusebio Francisco Kino. It was then that he became the first non-Indian to visit the village of Wa:k, or “Bac,” as he wrote it, and it was he who bestowed the patronage of San Francisco Xavier on this large village of O’odham or, as he called the natives, “Sobaipuris.”
Father Kino’s mission field was a large one that included most of what today are the west halves of northern Sonora and southern Arizona. His visits to San Xavier were always brief. In 1700 he spent a week in the village overseeing the laying of foundations for what he hoped would be a large church, but that effort never came to fruition. When Kino died in 1711 the village of Wa:k had neither church nor resident missionary.
Although Jesuits established a sporadic presence at San Xavier beginning in 1732, it was 1756 before construction of the first church was begun. Erected under the tutelage of Father Alonso Espinosa, S.J., it was a flat-roofed, rectangular building constructed of mud adobe and mud mortar. It survives today with the same external configuration but in a different location as the east wing of the mission abutted to the present church’s east bell tower.
Jesuits were expelled from New Spain (Mexico) by the Spanish King in 1767, and the following year Franciscans took up mission posts in the northern Sonoran Desert the Jesuits had been forced to abandon. Father Francisco Garcés became San Xavier del Bac’s first Franciscan missionary.
A chapel across from the church, never underestimate the power of candle power, it was hot in here!