One of the places Andrew wanted to visit when we were in Tucson last summer was Mission San Xavier del Bac. Since I'd seen photos on Gerhard's blog I knew it was going to be beautiful, but I was blown away by just how gorgeous it was.
It wasn't until editing down my photos for this post that I realized one side was freshly white-washed, and the other is a little grungy.
In case you're wondering, there were plants.
Lots of them...
And little guys hiding from the sun (or was he hiding from me?).
Andrew says they're ground squirrels.
San Xavier Mission was established in 1692 by Father Eusebio Francisco Kino, founder of the chain of Spanish missions in the Sonoran Desert. A Jesuit of Italian descent, he often visited and preached in the area, then the Pimería Alta colonial territory of the Viceroyalty of New Spain (source).
Inside was a little cooler than the oppressive heat outside, but not much.
Lots to look at though...
I read that "extensive restoration in the late 20th century has returned the Mission interior to its historic splendor. Cement-based stucco added in the 1980s had trapped water inside the church and damaged its interior decorations. It is being removed and replaced with traditional mud plaster incorporating pulp from the prickly pear cactus. This material "breathes" better and allows excess water to escape, but it requires more frequent inspection and has higher maintenance costs." (source) Mud plaster with pulp from the prickly pear cactus!? How fabulous.
A broken heart!
Okay, time to head back outside...
I couldn't stop snapping, this place is so photogenic.
On a map I found here (link to a great old book about the Mission from the Arizona Pioneer's Historical Society) this area is labeled as the graveyard.
In the shade again!
Inside the mortuary chapel.
Courtyard on the other side of the church itself.
These look perfectly happy with minimal soil. I might have to repeat this at home.
It was just too hot, we did not walk up to the top of the hill. Of course now, when it's only 46F outside—and I can't remember the last time I was hot—I wish we had. What a great view there must be!
The website of Mission San Xavier del Bac says Christmas Eve Masses are at 5:00 pm, 8:00 pm and 10:00 pm and Christmas Day has a 9:00 am Mass and 11:00 am Mass. There's also this, a Statement on Mission usage: "The Mission was created to serve the needs of the local community here, the village of Wa:k (San Xavier District) on the Tohono O'odham reservation, as it still does today. We have people from all over the country, and the world, wanting to have their special event here at the mission, and sometimes that can be accommodated, but the policy of the Mission staff is to only do Marriages, Baptisms, etc. for the local community. Everyone is welcome to attend Masses, special celebrations (like feast days), etc., but it is our belief that one's sacramental life should be shared within a person's local parish community. We do not rent out the church. We do not want the Mission to be used for advertising of commercial businesses or used as a set for movies or commercial photo-shoots."
Weather Diary, Dec 19: Hi 55, Low 48/ Precip trace
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