Mission San Xavier Named to Monuments Watch List

Mission San Xavier del Bac | Rob Hallifax

Mission San Xavier del Bac, a historic Franciscan mission on Tohono O'odham land near Tucson, has been named to the World Monuments Fund's 2016 list of historical sites at risk from the forces of nature and human influence.

The World Monuments List for 2016 includes 50 sites in 36 countries. It's intended to highlight places that are imperiled by forces of nature, such as weather and natural disasters, but also from the impacts of social, political and economic change.

Patronato San Xavier, a nonprofit organization dedicated to restoring and preserving the mission, announced the site's inclusion on the list in a news release last week, saying the renewed spotlight on the "White Dove of the Desert" will help further an ongoing restoration campaign. That campaign aims to restore the mission's east tower and create an endowment to fund regular maintenance. If you'd like to contribute, you can do so here.

The mission dates to the late 1600s. As we told you last year, the school there recently turned 150 years old. And earlier this year, the Arizona Daily Star produced a series of "then and now" photos of the mission.

The only other U.S. site on the list is San Estevan del Rey Mission Church, at New Mexico's Acoma Pueblo. International sites include the convents of Seville, Spain, the urban environments of Bucharest, Romania, and the cultural heritage sites of Nepal.

The list has been published annually since 1996. Previous Arizona sites have included Taliesin West in Scottsdale, the Hopi Tribe village of Walpi and the historic Fort Apache.

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