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
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