Today I visited the San Xavier Mission in Tucson, Arizona for the first time. When I stepped through the doors I was quite simply in awe. My photos really do not do it justice. I didn’t take my tripod, only my monopod, so I wasn’t able to slow my shutter speed down enough to really capture the beautiful artwork inside the Mission. I wasn’t sure how many people would be there and I didn’t want to be in the way. Next visit, my tripod goes with.
A National Historic Landmark, San Xavier Mission was founded as a Catholic mission by Father Eusebio Kino in 1692. Construction of the current church began in 1783 and was completed in 1797.
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.
The church retains its original purpose of ministering to the religious needs of its parishioners.
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 construction 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 separate nonprofit entity. It remains a testament to the endurance of culture throughout our history.
Taken from their website
Photo Location: Tucson, AZ