Monday, April 05, 2010

Tucson Trip- Mission San Xavier Del Bac

We drove south out of Tucson to go see the mission in the San Xavier Indian Reservation, we were probably looking into Mexico, we were so close.
There was a whole art class set up, sketching-so my group headed off and I plopped down and did a quick marker sketch. The mission is heavily done in a Morrocan style. Which is not that unusual, because Spain retained much of the artistic influence of their Muslim conquers,even after the Christians took it back over-and since Mexico was settled by Spain-  Mexico is a land of heavy patterning and bright colors as well.
The chapel and oldest part is the center, darker rougher looking part-the church is very asymetrical, literally missing one bell tower, that was never finished.
The the heavy patterning continues in the interior of the chapel...

Pretty amazing, though writing this the day after Easter it makes me ponder somethings. I love churches and cathedrals, they are true works of art, all the frescos, stained glass and paintings are a way for the priest to communicate to the illiterate people the stories of the Bible. But San Xavier is a good example as well of how its shear impressiveness and granduer was also a way to communicate to the Natives, the power of Spain to help in their submission.
San Xavier, was covered with statues of Saints, candles to buy and then burn, even had a replica of the Saint you could pin a small trinket on to be healed...all contrary to the message I heard and celebrated yesterday- that Jesus died on the cross for my sins, that Him and Him alone could save- that the curtain in the temple that divided the Holy of Holies where God resided over the top of the Arc of the Covenant stood and that any one who entered would drop dead, being in the presence of God, except the High Priest, once a year on the Day of Atonement- that in the moment Christ took the sins of the world on his shoulders and offered up his life for us-the curtain was ripped in half and all who had the blood of Christ on them, could be in the presence of God.

"No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest."

Hebrews 8:10-12
If you read the Bible, God gets extra mad at those who keep others from coming to Him!


  1. Julia, your sketch is wonderful. I love the way you send your lines around the canvas and let our eyes find little treasures along the way. The photos are quite beautiful.

  2. I know what you mean,Julia. When i look back over the history of the Church, and even the Church today, i do sometimes wonder what happened to the sweet and pure love of our Lord for us. It seems to be so messed up by us at times but it's always there. That's what i try to hang onto in my day to day.Thankyou for a beautiful post. Love Amanda xxx

  3. Julia..this was a phenomenal post! Thank you so very much for sharing it. Loved your sketches, and loved the beautiful walk through the chapel. Simply a breathtaking journey through history. Again, thank you so much for sharing this.

    Blessings, Love and Tuesday Sunshine, Terri

  4. Beautiful, those old Spanish churches!