July 9, 2019

Green Valley & Mission San Xavier del Bac, AZ

Tuesday, October 9, 2018
Green Valley, Arizona
Maggie & Dick's Hacienda

We enjoyed a quiet morning with our friends, who like to greet the day very much like we do --slowly and quietly.

Rod was busy with an editing job and Dick also had work to do (so much for retired life!), so Maggie and I took off to explore the Mission San Xavier del Bac, which is about 10 miles south of Tuscon.

From Wikipedia:

... [located] on the Tohono O'odham Nation San Xavier Indian Reservation. The mission was founded in 1692 by Padre Eusebio Kino in the center of a centuries-old Indian settlement of the Sobaipuri O'odham who were a branch of the Akimel or River O'odham, located along the banks of the Santa Cruz River. The mission was named for Francis Xavier, a Christian missionary and co-founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuit Order) in Europe. The original church was built to the north of the present Franciscan church. This northern church or churches served the mission until being razed during an Apache raid in 1770.

Today's Mission was built between 1783-1797; it is the oldest European structure in Arizona; the labor was provided by the O'odham. An outstanding example of Spanish Colonial architecture in the United States, it hosts some 200,000 visitors each year. It makes a cameo appearance in Cather's novel, Death Comes for the Archbishop when it's described by Fr Vaillant as "the most beautiful church on the continent, though it had been neglected for more than two hundred years."

The site is also known in the O'odham language as "goes in" or comes in: meaning "where the water goes in", as the water in the Santa Cruz came up to the surface a couple of miles south of Martinez Hill and then submerged again near Los Reales Wash. The Santa Cruz River that used to run year round in this section, once critical to the community's survival, now runs only part of the year.

The Mission is a pilgrimage site, with thousands visiting each year on foot and on horseback, some among ceremonial cavalcades, or cabalgatas in Spanish.

Unlike the other Spanish missions in Arizona, San Xavier is still actively run by Franciscans, and continues to serve the Native community by which it was built. Widely considered to be the finest example of Spanish Colonial architecture in the United States, the Mission hosts some 200,000 visitors each year. It is open to the public daily, except when being used for church services.

The Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity, who have taught at the school since 1872, continue with their work and reside in the Mission convent.

Love the contrast of white stucco against that blue sky!

Beautiful architecture!

Desert Garden

We headed back down to Tubac for a delicious lunch at Shelby's Bistro, then wandered around the shops as we chatted. I'm pretty sure we spent the majority of time talking about books! Maggie is a voracious reader and I always like to hear about the books she's enjoyed, as well as give her my recent recommendations.

Our good friends from Nebraska!

I fell in love with Maggie's rooster.

Investigating the rattlesnake situation...

We returned to the house and had drinks out on the patio with the guys before dinner. One of the landscapers told Dick that there was a large rattlesnake underneath a bougainvillea bush, which made me just a bit nervous! Definitely not uncommon for them to find rattlers around their house (and in their garage!).

After a delicious Italian meal at Melio's Trattoria, we headed home and were ready to call it a night by 10:00. Such party animals! ;)


  1. The Mission looks beautiful and so peaceful.

    1. Kathy, it was lovely! I thoroughly enjoyed my visit there.

  2. The mission has been on our list for years...somehow in all our visits to Tucson, we've never made it there. (But we will not miss it next time!) Your photos are lovely, and it looks like you had a perfect day with those gorgeous cobalt skies. Looks like a fun visit with friends, too.

    1. Laurel, it's quite lovely and I hope to return next time we're visiting our friends. It was a perfect day with the stunning blue sky. Reminded me of New Mexico. Off to read about your latest adventures!

  3. What a lovely place!

    1. Lisa, I really enjoyed visiting the mission and the surrounding areas!


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