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San Xavier Mission
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Nine miles south of Tucson, in the Santa Cruz Valley is the Mission San Xavier. Its Bright white towers and spires are a stark contrast to the desert and the blue sky above. It is actually called San Xavier del Bac, named for the settlement in which it was built called Bac, which means “place where the water appears,” because the Santa Cruz River, which runs underground for some distance, surfaces nearby.

The church was built in 1783 by the Franciscan Fathers Juan Bautista Velderrain and Juan Bautista Llorenz. Little is known about the construction of the mission, and one tower was never finished. The Church is highly regarded as the finest example of mission architecture in the United States. It is a blend of Byzantine, Moorish, and late Mexican Renaissance architecture, yet all of the styles blend together excellently.

The Church is still operational , the Franciscan Friars still follow their faith in the mission, serving primarily the Tohono O’odham people who live nearby. It is said that the artwork on the front of the mission predicts the coming end of times. With a snake on one side and a mouse on the other, a shadowy figure of man says that if the snake ever catches the mouse then the end of time is close at hand. The specter of an old Padre wanders through the church, appearing mostly when the light is low, at dusk or dawn.

The most horrible sighting is that of a nun who is seen leading five children to the church from a building that used to be a schoolhouse, they represent a horrific fire that burnt the schoolhouse to the ground, killing everyone inside. It is believed that that nun was trying to lead the children to safety when they died inside the school. Their spirits acting out the final moments of their lives.


Updated August 16th, 2009