Monday, August 1, 2011

Roamy at Mission St. Xavier Del Bac, Tucson, AZ

Thursday, July 28, 2011

~ Mission St. Xavier del bac, Tucson ... Roamy's Pink Saturday ~

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.

(If you have not read the previous post, do so also ... ty)

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 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 work force of O'odham to create the present church.

Thank you, Miss Beverly our wonderful
hostess of Pink Saturday. Join our other
pink ladies @

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.

Constructed of low-fire clay brick, stone and lime mortar, the entire structure is roofed with masonry vaults, making it unique among Spanish Colonial buildings within U. S. borders. The architect, Ignacio Gaona, is credited with building another church in Caborca, Sonora Mexico.

Little is known about the people who decorated the interior. The artwork was probably commissioned by Fr. Velderrain's successor and most likely created by artists from Queretero in New Spain (now Mexico). The sculpture was created in guild workshops and carried by donkey through the Pimeria Alta to its destination at the Mission. Craftsmen created gessoed clothing once the sculpture was in place.

The church contains numerous references to the Franciscan cord both on the facade and throughout the church.

The shell, a symbol of pilgrimage after the patron saint of Spain, Santiago or James the Greater, is replicated all through the structure in window treatments, the sanctuary, the facade and other details within the interior.

The Baroque architecture style features playful dramatic elements such as theatrical curtain displays, faux doors, marbleing, and overall sense of balance.

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.

A group of community leaders formed the Patronanto San Xavier in 1978 to promote the conservation of Mission San Xavier. Shortly after a comprehensive study of its condition was completed, water seeped into the west wall of the church's sanctuary, forcing an emergency conservation effort by the Patronato. In a five-year program, an international team of conservators cleaned, removed over-painting, and repaired the interior painted and sculptured art of Mission San Xavier del Bac.

A wooden replica of St. Francis lies here. People pilgrimmage here to pray their personal requests.

Now when I truned the corner & saw this, my blood
curdled. I stood & watched people approach this
'figure', lift its head 3 times, lay it back down, touch
& pin items to the coverlet, have 'items' in bags/parcels touching the entire length of the 'figure'.

I fingered for Sherry, Tony or Harold to 'GET OVER
HERE!' They looked at me puzzled. FINALLY, Sherry
came over. (Snails move faster, chuckle!) We both got in line, declaring no touching, standing back a few feet as we approached.

Later we read it is a wooden image of St. Francis & a significant gesture as one prays for their request.

The artwork is awesome.

People purchase candles to pray for their requests in this little chapel. The heat was
so stifling, we stayed outside.

As the rain storm brewed ... the heavens
came alive.

Roamy was deeply moved by this religious visit.

Roamy at the foot of the exterior statue

Two powerful lions grace the entry on
the left lower picture. Awesome hill side scene.

God's beautiful artwork at the end of the day in Tucson.

Roamy is now content to have had his second visit with Sherry & Tony. He & his 'family' will be visiting the final sights in
Frederick, MD on Sunday.


  1. Roamy... I am so happy you are getting to see so many wonderful things in your travels.. you are truly blessed to have so many blog friends...

  2. Wait until you see the final day of Roamy, it went up yesterday. Quite an event there, Karen.

    TTFN ~

  3. Already leaving the wife and kid at home???