News & Events

History and Restoration of Mission San Xavier del Bac

Event Date: 
Wednesday, September 12, 2018 - 5:00pm to 7:00pm

Lattie F. Coor Hall Room 4403
976 S Forest Mall 
Tempe, Arizona 85281 

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Speakers Clague Van Slyke III and Craig Reid will describe the history of Mission San Xavier del Bac , known as the White Dove of the Desert, one of the most iconic mission churches in the U.S. Southwest often described as the finest example of Mexican baroque art and architecture in the United States.  The mission was founded by Padre Eusebio Kino in 1692 and the church built a century later as a collaboration between Franciscan friars and the surrounding indigenous community.  The presentation will touch on the 10,000 year history of indigenous inhabitation of the area, the geopolitical forces that shaped the area and the blending of cultural traditions that continue to this day.  Van Slyke and Reid are active in the restoration of the church and have fascinating stories to tell about the community efforts to maintain the building. Many exciting projects both on the structure and interior are in progress. Their presentation will include slides and video.

As part of its St. Francis and the Americas project, the Hispanic Research Center has produced a video about the mission explained by Clague Van Slyke III: https://stfrancis.clas.asu.edu/gallery/places/mission-san-xavier-del-bac...

About the Speakers: Native Tucsonan Clague Van Slyke III has a life-long, multigenerational connection to Mission San Xavier del Bac. Clague’s father was the Patronato Board President during the 1990s and Clague has been a Board member since 2013. In 2015, he participated in the docent training, primarily to increase his knowledge about Mission San Xavier. He was inspired to share the incredible story with the Mission’s many guests. This year, Clague assumed the duties of Docent Education Coordinator, returning to his roots as a lifelong student of Southwestern history.

 Long-time docent Craig Reid has been bringing the Mission to life for audiences around Southern Arizona and is expanding the outreach program with other docents to include other Arizonans interested in a good story. Craig is a retired police chief from Minnesota, a terrific story teller, and has traveled extensively exploring church architecture around the world.

The event is free and open to the public. Please RSVP at https://sanxavier.eventbrite.com

Light refreshments will be served.