Chapter XX


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FATHER RAMIREZ sat alone in the little sitting-room of his mission home: the ten years that have rolled by since we last saw him have made but little change in the good man: his eye is as bright, his step as elastic, and his face has acquired a calmness and a power, which tell of a strong courageous soul evolved from a holiness of life and a purity of thought, which have given it a magnetic power that time can never efface.

Father Kino's mantle of benevolence and activity seemed to have literally fallen upon him, and he was reverenced and beloved by these poor children of the "American Desert" but little less than the saintly Father Kino had been.


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‘‘Our good Senor Padre told us that the good God would send us some one to take his place,’’ said Canoche, ‘‘and He has sent us a noble man.’’

His love for Manuelita had settled into a quiet, devoted friendship, exquisite in the pleasure and happiness it brought him, but so far above the eager glow of passion that once filled his soul that it now seemed a mystery of the long gone past, difficult to understand.

He had made his life so full, so active, that idleness, that most seductive danger, had not found much leisure to fill up with morbid regret and disappointment; his tired limbs and active brain had often lessened the weight of a heavy heart.

Side by side with him Manuelita had returned to the old life of usefulness among her people, and the little Balthazar evidenced a love and devotion to them constantly encouraged by his mother and Father Ramirez; while they, on their part, looked upon and


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reverenced him as a little prince from a new and strange realm.

At the moment when we see Father Ramirez, he holds in his hands an open letter.

‘‘Poor Manuelita,’’ he said aloud, ‘‘how will she ever bear the separation? The Marquis de Carrillo offers to take Balthazar, educate him, and make him his heir. Poor woman, in the loss of her husband her cup of sorrow and despair seemed full to overflowing; this will kill her I fear. Poor child, so young, so lovely and good, yet so full of sorrow. How truly has it been said, 'Dans ce monde ci, les plus belles choses ont souvent le pire destin.' How shall I tell her?’’ and with the letter in his hand, he went to look for her.

‘‘I cannot, I cannot,’’ said the heartbroken mother, when Father Ramirez told her of the Marquis de Carillo's letter. ‘‘He is all I have in the world: I would not give him up to see him on the throne of Spain,’’


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and for days she avoided the good priest for fear he would mention the subject to her again.

When she saw how sad he grew over her avoidance of him, a sense of justice came to her, and she said, ‘‘Forgive me, but I cannot discuss the subject.’’

‘‘Will you not think of the superior advantages of education and position he would enjoy?’’ he asked.

‘‘He would not be the better or happier for it,’’ she replied.

‘‘You do not think so now, nor do I, but the man differs wonderfully from the boy. Now it would make him unhappy to part from you, but what if then he should reproach you for your mother's selfishness in depriving him of all these advantages?’’

‘‘Not now, not now, he is but a baby yet,’’ she would say.

And the months passed on, and the answer to the letter was deferred, when one day there came another, saying that the Marquis


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wished an immediate reply, or he would adopt another heir.

‘‘It is hard, very hard, my child, to give him up,’’ said the faithful Catiche, but what would become of him if Father Ramirez died? There would be no one to educate him or to care for him as he should be cared for. He could not live as these poor Indians do—what would become of him? Think of it seriously, my child: what would his father have said, at the prospect of such a life and home for his son?"

And tearfully and prayerfully Manuelita did think of it: dearly and tenderly as she knew that her husband loved her, she felt that he would not have consented that his son should be reared under such influences and with only the associations which life here would give him.

‘‘What shall I say to the Marquis? I must reply at once,’’ said Father Ramirez.

‘‘Oh, my God, give me strength to bear this,’’ she prayed. ‘‘Oh, my boy, my beautiful boy, how can I give you up?’’


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And Father Ramirez wrote the Marquis that he would take the boy to Spain on the next vessel.

As the heartbroken mother put aside the many little mementoes of his childhood that he would not need in his new home, she would pause and sob bitterly over them, her loving heart crushed in the depths of its anguish. Other sorrows had been bitter, but this was desolating, so we will draw the curtain upon her sacred love and prayer.

Another decade has passed, and during all these years Manuelita has thought and prayed hourly for her boy, and as his letters came to her from time to time, how they were treasured, and read and re-read, until every word had been learned by heart by the three inmates of the San Xavier mission home.

And now that Balthazar had attained his twentieth year, his grandfather had consented, very reluctantly, to his visiting his mother before entering the Spanish army; he had


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made it a condition of compliance with the Marquis's wishes in this matter; his tastes were averse to army life, and he wished to enter the priesthood, but the imperious grandfather would not listen to it.

And now the tender, unselfish mother was to see her boy once more, to have him in her arms, to live over with him the years of his boyhood and young manhood that had been denied to her, to recall all the memories of infancy and childhood, and oh, saddest of all, to prepare her heart for another separation. He came, so like his father, that the dead seemed almost to have returned to her again, so noble, so handsome, and so loving that her mother's heart fed upon him with an intensity painful to others to witness.

For three long months he remained with her, and returned to enter the Spanish army, having first renewed his boyhood's promise to his mother that he would some day complete the San Xavier church for her—and Father Kino.


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Twenty years more passed away. Father Ramirez, the brave, the loyal, and true, had entered into his final rest, and a great many other Jesuit missionaries had administered at San Xavier del Bac. Finally the Jesuit missions became weaker and weaker, and the Spanish authorities more and more cruel to the poor Indians, compelling them with great cruelty to work in the mines: this very naturally led to insurrections and frequent massacres, the Apaches committing the most frightful depredations and murders. In 1767 the dissensions had grown so serious between the Spanish government and the Jesuit missionaries of New Spain that Spain passed an edict expelling them, and replaced them by the Franciscans.

During most of these years Balthazar Carillo had served with distinction in the Spanish army, and been enabled to add many standards to the ancestral dining hall, much to his grandfather's pride and gratification. The Marquis lived to be an octogenarian,


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and his closing years were made very happy by the loving care and devotion of his grandson.

‘‘And to think,’’ he would often say to Isabella, ‘‘that I should have lost all this, but for your goodness and loyalty. May God bless and reward you, my child, for I cannot.’’

And the devoted, noble woman was amply rewarded, in Balthazar's love, and in the happiness which she saw all around her, and the consciousness that it was her own loyal loving heart that had made it possible. She never married, and survived her uncle five years, during which Balthazar remained with her, as faithful and devoted to her old age as she had been to his lonely boyhood. Some time after her death he entered the Franciscan order of priesthood, and soon gladly availed himself of an opportunity offered him of going to San Xavier del Bac.

Catiche still lived, and so did Manuelita, and he found loving arms once more opened


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to receive him. ‘‘And now, dear mother, the hope of your life, and dear Father Kino's shall be realized. I am rich, and the church of San Xavier shall be completed.’’ Manuelita lived to see the church so nearly completed as to feel assured that it was only a question of a very short time, and died as she would have wished to, in the arms of her beloved son.

Father Balthazar Carillo, as he is known in the history of the mission work of the Franciscan order, used his fortune and directed his energies to the completion of this most beautiful and wonderful structure. It is still in an admirable state of preservation.

In 1797 Father Carillo died, having seen the church completed, all but one tower, which still remains unfinished.

The style of architecture is a blending of the Moorish, its arches surpassing the semi-circle, and the ornamental work in low relief, which covers the flat surfaces of some parts of its walls, and the Byzantine in its castellated


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exterior, surrounded by the dome and two minarets.

I copy my description of the church from a short sketch of it, published in pamphlet form by a recent missionary, for the benefit of the Tucson hospital.

On the frontispiece, which shows the width of the church with its two towers, is placed, in low relief, the coat-of-arms of the order of St. Francis of Assisi. 1 It consists of an escutcheon, with a white ground filled in with a twisted cord, 2 and a cross on which are nailed one arm of our Saviour and one of St. Francis, representing the union of the disciple with the Divine Master in charity and the love of suffering. The arm of our Lord is bare, while that of St. Francis is covered. On the right side of the escutcheon is the monogram of Jesus the Saviour of men, and that of the Blessed Virgin Mary on the left. The frontispiece was surmounted


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by a life-size statue of St. Francis, which has now gone pretty nearly all to pieces under the action of time.

The church which is built of stone and brick, is 105 x 27 feet inside the walls. Its form is that of a cross, the transept forming an each side of the nave a chapel of twenty-one feet square. The church has only one nave, which is divided into six portions, marked by as many arches, each one resting on two pillars, set against the walls. Above the transept is a cupola of about fifty feet in elevation, the remainder of the vaults in the church being only about thirty feet high.

Going from the front door to the main altar, there is on the right hand side wall a fresco representing the coming of the Holy Ghost upon the disciples. Opposite to it is the picture, also in fresco, of the Last Supper. Both paintings measure about 9 x 5 feet.

In the first chapel to the right hand of the two altars, one facing the nave with the image


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of our "Lady of Sorrows," standing at the foot of a large cross, which is deeply engraved in the wall, and the other one with the image of the Immaculate Conception. In the same chapel are two frescoes representing Our Lady of the Rosary and the hidden life of our Saviour. The opposite chapel is also adorned with two altars. One of them is dedicated to the Passion of our Lord, and the other to St. Joseph. There are also two paintings, the subjects of which are: Our Lady of the Pillar 3 and the Presentation of our Lord in the Temple.

The main altar, which stands at the head of the church, facing the nave, is dedicated to St. Francis Xavier, the patron saint the Jesuits had chosen for the first church they had established in the mission. Above the image of St. Francis Xavier is that of the Holy Virgin: between the statues of St. Peter and St. Paul, and at the summit of the altar piece, the bust of God, the Creator.


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The pictures which are seen on the walls near this altar, are: on the right hand side, "The Adoration of the Wise Men," with the "Flight into Egypt;" and on the left, "The Adoration of the Shepherds," with the "Annunciation."

These altars, and especially the principal one, are decorated with columns and a great profusion of arabesques, in low relief, all gilded or painted with different colours, according to the requirements of the Moorish style.

Besides the images we have mentioned, there are the statues of the twelve Apostles, placed in niches cut in the pillars of the church, and many others, representing, generally, some saints of the Order of St. Francis. There are also in the dome of the cupola the pictures of several personages of the Order who occupied high rank in the Church.

Going again to the front door, there are two small openings communicating with the towers. The first room on the right, which


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is formed by the inside of the tower, is about twelve feet square, and is used for the ministration of baptisms. A similar room, which is of no particular use now, but which corresponds to the mortuary chapel of the old basilicas, is located in the left tower. From each one of these rooms commence the stairs, cut in the thickness of the walls, and leading to the upper stories. Starting from the baptistery, the second flight reaches the choir of the church. A good view of the upper part of the monument can be had from that place. There are also some frescoes worth noticing. These are the Holy Family, facing the main altar; St. Francis, represented as enraptured by heavenly love, in a fiery chariot; St. Dominic, receiving from the Blessed Virgin the mission to promote the devotion of the Rosary in the world: and the four Evangelists, with their characteristic attributes. Two flights more lead to the belfry, where are four rough and home-made bells of small size. Twenty-two steps more bring the visitor


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to the top story, and under the little dome covering the tower, an elevation of about seventy-five feet above the ground. Here a glance can be cast on the beautiful and extensive valley of the Santa Cruz, and on the surrounding country.


Notes

1. The founder of the Franciscan Order.

2. A part of the Franciscan's dress.

3. An apparition of the Mother of God at Saragossa.

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