Mission Churches of the Sonoran Desert

Santa Maria Magdalena
Sonora, Mexico

Santa Maria Magdalena church and plaza

Church and plaza, Santa Maria Magdalena. The church in the illustration is not of colonial construction, having been built in the 1830s and having been heavily altered in the present century. A side chapel holds a life-sized reclining statue of St. Francis Xavier, the informal patron of the Pimería Alta. He is honored on October 4 each year with the largest religious pilgrimage and fiesta in Sonora.


rounda and church at Santa Maria Magdalena

Kino rotunda and church at Magdalena de Kino. The small domed building on the right protects the bones of Father Eusebio Francisco Kino, S.J., first missionary to live permanently in the area. These bones, discovered by an international team of archaeologists, are on view in their original resting place under the floor of a now obliterated chapel.


statue of Saint Francis Xavier's incorrupt body in the side chapel of the churc

San Francisco Xavier. The miraculous statue of Saint Francis Xavier's incorrupt body in the side chapel of the church at Magdalena de Kino. This is a 1940s replacement for an earlier statue which was taken from the church and burned in 1934, during a time of religious conflict in Mexico. The annual religious fiesta associated with this statue is the occasion for the region's major annual pilgrimage.

The religious fiesta held every October 4 in Magdalena de Kino is by far the most important pilgrimage event in the Sonoran Desert. Read more about the Magdalena Fiesta.

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Go to the San Xavier del Bac mission page Go to the Tumacacori mission page Go to the Pitiquito mission page Go to the Caborca mission page Go to the Tubutama mission page Go to the Oquitoa mission page Go to the Cocospera mission page Go to the San Ignacio mission page Go to the Magdalena mission page