Tour the architectures in the Southwest - Church - 1 :
San Xavier del Bac Mission - 1 (Tucson, Arizona, USA)

Mission San Xavier del Bac called as the dove in a desert stands In a wilderness of a low thicket located in a suburb of Tuscon established in 1775. The name came from Father Xavier who preached the gospel to Japan.

In 1692 when Spain had ruled, Father Kino of the Society of Jesus started missionary work at first, and the Franciscan order which took the Society of Jesus over completed it in 1797 that had passed one century since the start.

Except the brown element around the entrance decorated with fine plant pattern and pillars like a bamboo, a white skin of a plaster just like another name was shining dignifiedly in the strong sunlight. Two pairs of tower had been planned to built with a symmetrical form, but the cupola on a roof on one side had not existed from the time of its completion. The incomplete balance rather added delicate nuances of time on the architecture.

A church, which white color in the exterior and the interior stands out, is here and there in the wide North and South America where a Spaniard had advanced. However, the white color in this church was different from the white color of other churches which I had seen.

In the photos, the alter, which fused a baroque style with an indigenous people's design, is overwhelming. In the real space, the white color attracted my conscious. It is not shiny but clean like a worn-out clothe that appears after washing repeatedly many times.

The Baroque church had evolved into a dramatic space in order to attract believers against the Protestant Reformation. But, in the new continent far from such changes in Europe, the degree of freedom for a church building might be high to melt it into indigenous peoples.

The feeling of lack in the exterior appearance and imperfect whiteness in the interior space create a sense of affinity. That always accompanies evanescence of the change of time and prevents from becoming an absolute and eternal existence.

In hot and dry land where temperature is close to 50 degrees C in the summer, no perfect whiteness by strong halation but a shadowy whiteness like a cool shade percolates comfortably like an oasis through my body tired from the heat.

In the white gentle light, familiar creatures found in Arizona's land such as deer, rabbit, snail, snake, etc. are skillfully embedded in relief and coexist with saints.

It was a place where the indigenous people seemed to have felt closer to Christianity by using them as a clue.

To Japanese Version

Google Maps

20 minutes by car from downtown Tucson.
40minutes by the public Transportation system from downtown Tucson. Go by Sun Tran from to Roy Laos Transit Center and exchange into the public mini shuttle bus "Route 440" to San Xavier Mission.

Sun Tran
Sun Shuttle

Mission San Xavier del Bac

Metropolitan Tucson Convention & Visitors Bureau

Arizona Inn
Canyon Ranch
Hilton Tucson El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort
Hotel Congress
Lodge on the Desert
Loews Ventana Canyon Resort
Westward Look Resort

Americas Best Value Inn Tucson
Days Inn Tucson Convention Center
Hotel Tucson City Center InnSuites
Motel 6 Tucson - Congress Street #50

Catalina Park Inn
Desert Dove B & B
El Presidio B & B
The Royal Elizabeth B & B Inn
The Big Blue House Inn
Armory Park B & B

"San Xavier - The Spirit Endures" (Kathleen Walker, Arizona Department of Transportation, State of Arizona, 2009)

2018.01 Photos and text in English version and Japanese version


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San Xavier del Bac Mission (1797) 

Photo by Daigo Ishii