Thursday, May 14, 2015

2015 Tucson: San Xavier del Bac (5/14/2015)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015
When Ginger K said we were welcome to visit, Karen H took her up on it and set the date. Unfortunately, Kathy K could not join us for the trip.
Karen flew from Buffalo, NY and I came by way of St Paul, MN. We arrived between 20:30 and 21:00, and were surprised to be met at the airport by Ginger! After picking up a rental car, we followed Ginger to Nico's Taco Shop to grab a bite for Karen, then to Ginger's and Candace's home in Tucson, AZ.
I had the formal guest room and Karen had the guest room with the exercise equipment, of which she did avail herself on occasion!
Guest room/exercise room
Hummingbird guest room
We couldn't have asked for better lodgings, or better hosts! Thank you Ginger and Candace!
Tucson was founded in 1775 by the Spanish, and built over a former O'odham/Pima village called chuke-son or cuk-son/[spring] at the base of the black mountain (Sentinel Peak). Considered the founding father of Tucson, Hugh O'Conor, the appointed governor of Texas under the viceroy of New Spain, authorized the construction of a presidio/fort around which the town grew. Tucson served as the territorial capital of Arizona from 1867 to 1877.

Thursday, May 14, 2015
Today was overcast and cool, not what was expected of Arizona weather! Plus it was very windy!
This morning we started on the southern leg of the tour, driving down I-19. Karen took on the role of navigator for the whole trip.
Mission San Xavier del Bac is called the "White Dove of the Desert" because the white building stands alone in the scrubland.
Mission San Xavier del Bac
with a ramada/roofed shelter for shade in the foreground;
we were too early for the fry bread sold here!
It is an active church and is located on the Tohono O'odham Reservation.
The mission was founded by the Spanish Jesuit Eusebio Francisco Kino who visited the village of Wa:k (sic, that he called Bac) in 1692. After Kino's death in 1711, the village was visited sporadically by Jesuits, and not until 1756 was a small church built. After the Jesuits were expelled from New Spain in 1767, the Franciscans took on the mission. The present church was built 1783-1797, although the east bell tower was never completed. It is considered the finest Spanish mission architecture (with Moorish, Byzantine, and Mexican Renaissance styles) in the US and is the oldest intact structure in Arizona.
Mission San Xavier del Bac façade 
The Mission San Xavier del Bac was named a National Historic Landmark in 1960 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1966.
Mortuary chapel
Inside the mortuary chapel
Stations of the Cross in the mortuary chapel courtyard
Inside the mission church: east transept
(the chancel was scaffolded!)
Figure of San Francisco Xavier
In the west transept is a sarcophagus with a figure of the namesake Saint Francis Xavier. We learned that the faithful bow or kneel to pray to St Francis, leave a photo or prayer charm, then lift the head to complete their devotions!
Extensive wall paintings and sculptures
Another Saint Francis Xavier
who is often portrayed holding up a cross
School children were filing into the church as we left
A nun crosses the plaza behind the church
O'odham basketry in the museum
Figure of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha,
the first Native American saint
in the Roman Catholic Church
Nice gift shop, and no tax!
Next: Titan Missile Museum.

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