San Xavier Mission near Tucson, AZ

Tucson Travel Blog

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San Xavier Mission of the Great South West

While Most of us are familiar with the Ghost Towns of the Old South West, many of us are not aware of a famous Southwestern dwelling place of, The Holy Ghost.

If you live in the Southwest and have not heard of the San Xavier del Bac, i.e. San Xavier Mission, then you couldn’t have lived here long. And if you have not made the worthy trip to investigate, then you really are missing out.

The “White Dove of the Desert” is nearly one hundred fifty years old, but doesn’t not resemble it’s age at all. This is because of those who tenderly and continually keep up with the restoration process that began over one hundred years ago. Just 9 miles south of Tucson, Arizona, San Xavier Mission is a worthy sight.

One may not be of the Catholic faith, one may not have faith in God at all, but most who attend a service at the Mission must admit, that the soul and spirit are certainly aroused, during the beautiful centuries-old ceremony of worship. And those leading the service commit their hearts to honoring God thorough focused, harmonious prayers, praises, song, and readings.

Services are held now days on a regular, daily schedule-as well as Sundays. There is no requirement to become a member as the mission receives expected visitors every Sunday. Even unbelievers have experienced the a beckoning-of the Holy Spirit?-during this resonating ritual.

When attending a service, you notice the traditions of Catholicism-as they are the strength of the service. Beautiful prayers and music resounding in the majestic sanctuary fill your heart and soul. One thing you will feel for sure is, history.

The original mission actually began in a different building than that of today’s services. The original is just two miles from the one that is used today.

When first arriving Arizona, Father Eusebio Francisco Kino, a priest of the Roman Catholic Church, came from Europe with a desire to spread the word of God, in this new land of 1692. (Crounse, 2005) Father Kino was delighted to find the local Papago Indians receptive while he laid the first foundation to the church in 1700. The Papago Indians are a branch off the Pima Indians, and in the 1980’s changed the tribal name to: Tohono O’odham ( The Papago experienced much less contact with the Whites than the Pima at that time.

Father Kino traveled the Southwest continually, using the mission as his base. The Mission was constantly raided and attacked by the hostile Apache Indians until its ultimate destruction around 1770.

When the Jesuits Priests were banned from all Spanish lands in the United States by Charles III of Spain, in the late 1760’s (nearly seventy years after Father Kino’s work), the mission was then led by the Franciscans. After the Apache destroyed the first building, the new one was erected during 1783-1797. It is the one we see today, and is still attended to by the Franciscans. The Mission also continues to serve it's native community by which it was built.

During the short abandonment, while the Priests escaped Apache raids, the local, more peaceful Indians respected the property and did not misuse it. It is reported that many of the local Indians actually took relics into their own homes, or buried some to preserve them. They must have known in their hearts that one day, the solution would come…and one did.

The rebuilding of the Church during the late 1700’s was funded by the Santa Fe Dioces sect in 1859. The care put into the entire mission is not just of gold, intricate art work, and heart-stopping architecture-but is also a mission of love for the people who came there to find peace. San Xavier, in true Christian love, would never turn away a depressed or sorry soul who sought refuge from the storms of life.

So whether or not the traveler is of Catholic faith, or any faith at all, visitors can enter in San Xavier, experience the past, and receive a sense of what is possible through the power of God’s love.

Perhaps you too will experience the Holy Spirit and His presence-at San Xavier.

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San Xavier Mission taken from: htt…
San Xavier Mission taken from: ht…
630 km (391 miles) traveled
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photo by: walterman9999