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
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,
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
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
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.
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 -
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
This section may not be reproduced, copied or electronically stored
without written permission from the publisher.
Not affiliated with San Xavier del Bac Mission. This section is provided for information by Entertainment Magazine.