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San Ignacio, Baja California Sur, Mexico

Mission San Ignacio Kadakaaman

Mission San Ignacio was founded by the Jesuit missionary Juan Bautista de Luyando in 1728 at the site of the modern town of San Ignacio, Baja California Sur, Mexico.

The site for the future mission was discovered in 1706 by Francisco María Piccolo at the palm-lined Cochimí oasis of Kadakaamán ("arroyo of the carrizos"). The site proved to be a highly productive one agriculturally, and served as the base for later Jesuit expansion in the central peninsula. The impressive surviving church was constructed by the Dominican missionary Juan Gómez in 1786. The mission was finally abandoned in 1840.

"Today the venerable church stands largely in its original condition, thanks to a 1976 restoration, and is used by the local community for masses, weddings, funerals, and daily worship.  The church's elaborate facade, with its engraved stone plaques and plaster ornamentation, makes it one of the most impressive of all Baja's mission churches.  The plaque to the lest of the main doors, above the lower left window, is emblazoned with two crowned lions (symbol of the Kingdom of Leon in Spain), two castles (for the Kingdom of Castile), and the crown of Spain.  To the right of the portal, over the corresponding lower window, is a simpler plaque with two overlapping globes (representing the Old and New Worlds), flanked by the twin Hercules pillars of Spain and North Africa; the pillars are topped by the crowns of Spain and Portugal, while the globe motif features a hybrid crown combining aspects of both the Portuguese and Spanish crowns.

Inside the church, the statue at the center of the main viceregal-style altar is of the mission's patron saint, St. Ignacius Loyola.  Surrounding the statue are paintings of St. Joseph and the infant Jesus (upper left), St. Bernard (lower left), Virgen de Pilar (above the statue), St. John the Baptist (upper right), and St. Dominic (lower right).  The two side altars, while not as impressive, also date from the mission period.

A sign in the church foyer requests that visitors dress with respect and refrain from chewing gum".

bullet San Ignacio Area Map
Text Credit: Joe Cummings
Photos: Bliss Adrian Richards

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