Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Arizona, 2/27/12, Saguaro Park and San Xavier Mission

On the Road Again Monday Feb. 27

Tree on our campsite.

Drove the Cactus Forest Drive in Saguaro East National Park.

Saguaros are in the rose family....think of the thorns. Saguaros do not grow arms until they are 60 to 75 years old.

Their trunks are fluted so they can swell to absorb water when it rains.

Walked up by the Javelina Rocks.

Looks like some critter had prickly pear to eat. Can you imagine biting, eating and swallowing something with those thorns.

Listened to the volunteer talk how the plants and animals adapt to live in this desert. Barrel cactus may grow to 6 feet tall.

Teddy bear cholla cactus appear fuzzy.

Two bay saguaros living in the shade of a tree. Saguaros have shallow roots so will eventually take all the moisture so the tree with a deeper roots will die.

This cactus was about 15 to 20 feet tall. Birds (this is a curved billed thrasher)are pretty nifty to stand on those cactus tops. Look at those thorns. I'm beginning to know the different kinds of cactus. This Park is like so many of the place s we have been....just captivating.

San Xavier Mission, the White Dove of the Desert, was our next stop.

What an amazing place built starting in 1783, completed in 1797. But notice only one bell tower completed. There are debates as to why it wasn't finished.

We learned the history of the church from an excellent tour guide.

This is a Baroque church. There is so much symbolism. The cross, the arm of Jesus, arm of St. Francis who had the stigmata. The Franciscan cord is below the cross.

Franciscan cord is on the walls, surrounding the entire church. The sash below it (same color) with bells and pomegranates hanging from it represents the priest robes of Moses time.

The main altar with God the Father at the very top, angels near Him, the man in white is Saint Francis Xavier. The statute is not solid stone or wood. All statues came by mule from Mexico. The white robe is fabric over the frame.

Notice the cloth, not solid stone or wood statue.

Mary as well as other statues with fabric can be used easily in processions. Not as heavy as stone or wood.

This painting was on the wall 30 feet high. Sorry not real sharp. Important to share as Mary is doing something rarely seen. She is diapering Jesus, or wrapping him in swaddling clothes.

This Last Supper painting is VERY unusual. In the right corner by the drapery is something controversial.

Head of the Devil, there to influence Judas. The Church banned this depiction, but this painting survived intact.

Side altar.

People bring medals and pin them on the shroud of St. Francis.

Prayer book on sheepskin.

Titoi, Man in the Maze

Commonly seen in the Tohono O'Odham nation

Mortuary Chapel. This place was so Impressive and inspirational.

We are camping at Casa Grande, another Escapee Park. It was the first Park built by the Escapee RV Club.

Location:Saguaro National Park and San Xavier Mission, Tucson

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