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May 1995

San Xavier Mission, Tucson, AZ



Mission San Xavier del BAC is located in the Santa Cruz Valley nine miles south of Tucson. The original mission was first started in 1700 by Father Eusebio Francisco Kino which was about 2 miles from the present location. In 1783, the present church was started; and finished in 1797 by Franciscan Fathers Juan Bautista Velderrain and Juan Bautista Llorenz. If y look at the bottom row (first photo on the left), you'll notice the bell tower on the right side is missing.  It was never finished, and nobody knows why to this day!  The architecture of the mission is said to be one of the finest, if not the finest in the US.  The styles are: Moorish, Byzantine and late Mexican RenaissanceThe mission has served the Tohono O'odhom people for centuries and still serves as a mission for the same peoples, but is open to all, as it's still fully functional and run by Franciscan Friars. photos now seem different from others; brighter and less color.  When I went (with my son's field trip) we saw a LOT of red in the church, and seemingly every inch of the main area and around he altar, was covered with fresco, statuary, carvings and gilding.  It made the area seem small but it's a lot larger than it looked.  I know they are undergoing a restoration now, but pretty much, the mission remains almost exactly like it was in the 1700's.  San Xavier del Bac means "The White Dove of the Desert". 


 Left to Right: 1) Front of Mission 2) Cross on nearby hill 3) Grotto of the Virgin Mother 4) Lions Gate 5) Lions Gate closer view


Left to Right: 1) Side of mission 2) Back of side of mission 3) Ceiling of main hall 4) Statuary 5) More statuary


Left to Right: 1) Front of mission further view 2) Pillar 3) Postcard 4) Frescoes 5) Wall decorations


Sites you might like to visit:

Franciscan Friars

Tohono O'odhom people

Prayers to Saint Francis

Missions of the Southwest


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