Saturday, April 2, 2011

San Xavier del Bac - I

A gorgeous place to visit while in Tucson, it is a step back in time when you cross the threshold. This is part 1 of 2. I was having a difficult time editing this series down to a smaller number. Perhaps in the future I will, but for now I am in love with all of these photos.  I hope you enjoy them as well...

"The oldest intact European structure in Arizona, the church's interior is filled with marvelous original statuary and mural paintings.  It is a place where visitors can truly step back in time and enter an authentic 18th Century space.
An earthquake in 1887 knocked down the mortuary wall and damaged parts of the church. Extensive repairs began in 1905, under Bishop Henry Granjon. The next round of restoration followed the years after 1939 when a lightening strike hit the West Tower lantern."


"The current church dates from the late 1700's, when Southern Arizona was part of New Spain. In 1783, Franciscan missionary Fr. Juan Bautista Velderrain was able to begin contruction on the present structure using money borrowed from a Sonoran rancher. He hired an architect, Ignacio Gaona, and a large workforce of O'odham to create the present church.

Following Mexican independence in 1821, San Xavier became part of Mexico. The last resident Franciscan of the 19th Century departed in 1837. With the Gadsden Purchase of 1854, the Mission joined the United States. In 1859 San Xavier became part of the Diocese of Santa Fe. In 1866 Tucson became an incipient diocese and regular services were held at the Mission once again. Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet opened a school at the Mission in 1872. Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity now teach at the school and reside in the convent.

The Franciscans returned to the Mission in 1913. Recently, Mission San Xavier became a seperate nonprofit entity. It remains a testament to the endurance of culture throughout our history."


1692  Father Kino visits the village of Wa:k
1700  Father Kino begins foundations on a church never built
1711  Father Kino dies in Magdalena, Sonora, Mexico
1756  Father Espinosa constructs the 1st church
1767  Jesuits are expelled from New Spain
1768  Spanish Franciscans take over the Mission
1783  Construction begins on the present church
1797  The Mission church is completed
1821  Spanish Franciscans leave
1846  Cooke's Mormon battalion passes by the Mission
1854  Gadsden Purchase puts the Misison inside the United States
1859  Santa Fe diocese begins first repairs of the Mission
1887  Earthquake damages the Mission
1905  Bishop Granjon begins major repairs
1913  Franciscans return to the Mission
1939  Lightning strikes the West Tower
1953  Church facade is restored
1963  San Xavier becomes a National Historic Landmark
1978  Patronato San Xavier established to preserve the Mission
1989  Leaking walls force emergency restoration
1992  Conservators begin a 5-year rescue effort of the interior

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