Sunday, December 21, 2008

Father Kino and the Missions

Marie of That Which Is Good and the artist responsible for some great RVer gifts (see sidebar), posted some beautiful photos of San Xavier del Bac on her site. If you haven't been to the Mission, please make time for it, I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Father Kino was an amazing man of many talents. Not only a missionary, but also a mathematician, astronomer and cartographer, he traversed the southwest from northern Mexico to Arizona and California. Imagine that trip on horseback in the 1680s. His order was to establish missions and that he did, founding over twenty, some of which are still standing. Several sites throughout Tucson and Arizona bear Kino's name, such as Kino Parkway and what was Kino Hospital, now UPH Hospital at Kino Campus. A statue of Padre Kino on horseback is located on the Parkway.

Whenever I visit San Xavier, I stand in awe of the art that was created by a primitive people with the most primitive of tools and supplies. Some of their primitive processes have withstood the test of time. In the last century, cement stucco was used to "preserve" the exterior of the mission. Anyone who has experience with cement stucco knows that once it cracks (which it always does) water begins to seep in and whatever is under is ruined and the stucco will spall. Because of this the mission could have deteriorated beyond repair. The answer: remove the cement stucco and replace with lime plaster with a binder boiled prickly pear!

San Xavier, another important part of Tucson history.

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