The White Dove of the Desert

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The San Xavier del Bac Mission, often referred to as the “White Dove of the Desert,” is located near the Santa Cruz River nine miles south of Tucson, Arizona. A Jesuit missionary named Father Kino visited the site in 1692, and would commence construction of the mission seven years later. The Mission was finally completed in 1797.

The mission is a wonderful polyglot of 17th century Spanish, and traditional and modern Tohono O’Odham sacred art and symbols.

Every time I go to visit, like I did this past January, I spend a moment by the entrance looking for the cat and mouse. I squint at the facade to see if we’re any closer to the end of the world.

Carved from a mesquite wood, right by the front door of the church is a small carved frieze of a cat chasing a mouse. It is said that when the cat catches the mouse, the end of the world will be at hand.

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