The San Xavier Mission -
the "White Dove of the Desert"
By Danielle Crounse
In the vast desert on an Indian reservation just nine miles southwest of Tucson, Arizona, one would not expect to find a beautiful church. The San Xavier del Bac Mission.
Following the signs from the highway directs you toward Mission San Xavier (pronounced as "hauv-e-air") del Bac, you approach this majestic "White Dove of the Desert" (as it is affectionately called). It is truly an awesome experience. The sheer size and bright color against a blue sky and the tan colors of the desert make San Xavier Mission a striking sight.
The San Xavier del Bac Mission was built between 1783 and 1797 by the Tohono O'odham tribe, under the direction of Spanish Franciscans. The mission opened Tucson's first public school in Nov. 7, 1864. The Mission was created to serve the needs of the local community, the village of Wa:k (San Xavier District) on the Tohono O'odham reservation, southwest of Tucson, Arizona.
The new scaffolding will be in place for the next three years while the San Xavier Mission continues it restoration. Restoration work is paid with funds raised by Patronato San Xavier, a local non profit group. The restoration of the church sanctuary began in 1992 and was finished in 1997.
To make a donation towards the restoration of the mission visit Patronato San Xavier. Patronato San Xavier is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3), and donations to San Xavier's preservation are fully tax deductible.
San Xavier Museum and Gift Shop
Therfe is a museum at the Mission that explains more about this history with artifacts on display. Listen to a 20 minute video which talks about the history of the Mission and its restoration.
Walk through the museum and look at the artifacts to get a sense of the history and the way people lived at the Mission. The San Xavier del Bac museum is free and open to the public. There are some donation boxes to help provide for its upkeep. The museums hours are: 8:30am - 4:30pm daily.
The San Xavier Mission Gift shop with various items about the Mission San Xavier from t-shirts to authentic Tohono O'odham baskets made right here on the reservation. The gift shops hours are from 8:00am - 5:00pm daily (holiday hours may vary).
Books on San Xavier Mission and History
From Amazon: Mission San Xavier del Bac: A Guide to Its Iconography is the first study of the iconography at San Xavier since its restoration in the 1990s by an international team of professional conservators. It expands our understanding of the numerous Catholic images and emblems of San Xavier through a close analysis of the newly revealed iconographic elements and an interpretation of its significance.
Extremely rare serpentine with white quartz, gold, silver and copper ores from mines miles within Tucson's Mt. Lemmon aqnd Santa Catalina mountains. Unique, one-of-a-kind specimens, southwestern artwork and fashioned jewelry by local artist Flint Carter. From the origin of the "mine with the Iron Door" legend.
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Not affiliated with San Xavier del Bac Mission. This section is provided for information by Entertainment Magazine.