Mission San Xavier del Bac is 9 mi. s. off I-19 exit 92, on San Xavier Rd. in the Tohono O'odham Indian Reservation. Though founded by Jesuit Father Eusebio Francisco Kino before 1700, the present structure was built 1783-97 by the Franciscans. The missionaries were forced to leave San Xavier in 1828 but the Franciscans returned in 1911, and since that time have maintained old San Xavier as the parish church and school of the Tohono O'odham.
This is the only Kino mission in the nation still active in preaching to the Tohono O'odham. Called the “White Dove of the Desert,” the structure is an impressive example of Spanish mission architecture. The domes, carvings and arches distinguish it from other missions. The interior murals and the altar are especially noteworthy. The Mission was made a National Historic Landmark in 1963.
A continuous video presentation is shown in the museum, and a self-guiding tour is available.