Yay! I finally visited the beautiful Mission San Xavier del Bac. It is a beautiful Spanish Catholic mission on the 10 miles south of Tucson on the Tohono O'odham Nation San Xavier Indian Reservation
Don't you love this nickname-- The White Dove of the desert?
Man in the Maze
While walking around the mission we saw this path of life symbol of the Tohono O'odham people in many places.
"The man at the top of the maze depicts birth. By following the white pattern, from the top, the figure goes through the maze encountering many turns and changes, as in life. As the journey continues, one acquires knowledge, strength and understanding. Nearing the end of the maze, one retreats to a small corner of the pattern before reaching the dark center of death and eternal life. Here one repents, cleanses and reflects back on all the wisdom gained. Finally, pure and in harmony with the world, death and eternal life are accepted."
-Man in the Maze, from card in the gift shop.
The mission was founded in 1692 by Padre Eusebio Kino in the center of a centuries-old settlement of the Sobaipuri O'odham, a branch of the Akimel or River O'odham located along the banks of the Santa Cruz River. The mission was named for Francis Xavier, a Christian missionary and co-founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuit Order) in Europe. The original church was built to the north of the present Franciscan church. This northern church or churches served the mission until it was razed during an Apache raid in 1770. 2
The mission that survives today was built between 1783 and 1797, which makes it the oldest European structure in Arizona. Labor was provided by the O'odham. An outstanding example of Spanish Colonial architecture in the United States, the Mission San Xavier del Bac hosts some 200,000 visitors each year. 2
Here are some close ups of the exterior.
While Jodi and I were walking by the church a girl yelled out her truck that she went to this school.
The school as 155 students and is committed to educate, nurture, and empower Tohono O odham students, other Native American students, and students of all cultures, to strengthen their living expression of the Catholic faith." 3
One of my favorite parts is the gardens surrounding the church and school
Catholic influence around the mission
|St. Anthony||San Judas Tadeo||St. Kateri Tekakwitha|
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