TYPE: Documents (Bound)
COMPONENTS: [7] leaves. Marbled boards. Woodcut in first page. Signatures and seal on the last page.
CONDITION: Some stains in the second and third leave. In very good condition.

The Spanish Franciscan Missionary

ITEM ID: 3199

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Lists of Franciscan Churches/Missions/Convents in Mexico

Year: 1779
Decade: 1770s
Century: 18th (1701-1800)

In Nomine D. N. Jesu-Christi. Amen. Haec Est Tabula Congregationis Capitularis Intermediae Hujus Almae Provinciae Sancti Evangelij. Conventu S.P.N. Francisci de Mexico.This publication lists the Franciscan churches, Missions, Convents, in Mexico, as well as the missions in New Mexico, Tampico and  Novae Coloniae (Chihuahua, Tamaulipas).  With the names of the friars serving at each church, mission or position, written on ink.Notable for listing the existing Indians Missions in Northern Mexico, especially the ones from New Mexico, which were the earliest Missions in Northern Mexico: “During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the Spanish established missions almost everywhere they settled. Missions for the various Indian tribes were built in Texas, Arizona, and California, but the earliest were in New Mexico.”( Robert J. Torrez.  Spanish Missions of New Mexico Established). Noteworthy New Mexico missions listed:Tezuque (Tesuque): Listed in charge- Athanasius Dominguez Nambe: Sebastian Fernandez San Hieronimy de Taos (Taos): Joseph Bilchis San Francisis de Albuquerque (Albuquerque): Joseph Corral Santa Fidei de la Villa (Santa Fe): Joannes Joseph Himojosa The Indians that inhabited the New Mexico Missions were mainly Navajos and the Indios Pueblos (that included hopi , zuñi, keres, jemez , keresana,  tañoanos  and many more).  Life on the New Mexican Missions: During the 17th and 18th centuries, Franciscans built roughly 100 mission churches across the Southwest, including more than two dozen in Texas, nearly four dozen in New Mexico, a handful in Arizona and more than 20 in California. Many missions decayed and fell into ruin over time. Some took root and endured.With his enterprise funded by the government and protected by the military, the typical mission friar choreographed the very lives of his charges, who had to follow “a highly structured and disciplined routine of prayer, work, training, meals, and relaxation, punctuated by frequent religious holidays and celebrations,”Every day at dawn, the padre tolled his mission bells to summon his Indians to the morning service. He required them to ask God to bless their food at meals. He maintained a strict separation between unmarried men and women. On work days, he sent men to mission fields, building sites and workshops for the day’s labor. He sent the women to looms, laundry pits and mealing bins. He dispatched children to guard the fields from birds and rodents. At night, he locked young girls and unmarried women in quarters segregated from the men. Imposing a monastic life on his Indian “children,” the Franciscan “conqueror of souls” sought to fulfill his order’s vision of a “utopian Christian republic.” He commanded his charges to give up the old ways. More concerned about their souls than their bodies, he might chain and imprison those who violated the stringent mission ethic, either intentionally or unintentionally. He left the scars of his lash – or that of his soldiers – on Indian backs. In one account, a woman, convicted of infanticide, “was punished by having her head shaved, being whipped daily for two weeks, having her feet bound in irons for three months, and ‘having to appear every Sunday in church, on the steps leading up to the altar, with a hideous painted wooden child in her arms.’” By many accounts, Franciscans turned missions into plantations of slavery, with rules enforced by Spanish militia, and they used the produce of the labor, not to improve the lives of the Indians, but to embellish the glory of their church.As a result of the tyranny, which redoubled the hardships of the frontier, the Franciscans often failed in their mission. Their churches collapsed, sometimes demolished by the mission Indians themselves, sometimes under repeated assault by raiders such as the Apaches. Many friars died as martyrs at the hands of the Indians. (In the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, for one example, 21 of 33 priests assigned to missions in the upper Rio Grande basin fell to Indians’ vindictive bludgeons, arrows and torture.) Mission populations wasted away as a result of virulent diseases introduced by the Spanish and spread by the enforced crowded community life. In many years and in many missions, padres buried more than they baptized. Disillusioned with Christianity, desperate Indians reverted to traditional religions, sometimes secretly, in nighttime rituals in hidden ceremonial chambers. In other instances, the Indians blended Christianity and traditional religions into a unique new whole. As Weber said, “Oppressed in body and in spirit, many mission Indians sought ways to extricate themselves from the loving embrace of the sons of St. Francis.”The Spanish Catholicism of the Franciscan order collided, sometimes violently, with the ancient spirituality and cultural traditions of the Southwestern Indian cultures, but undeniably, the friars came to their missions as profoundly committed, courageous, persuasive and resourceful men. Obedient to their Church, they came to the colonial frontier obsessed with fulfilling their destiny to save “heathen souls.” Impoverished, with no horses, they walked in sandals from Mexico City for more than 1000 miles up the trails to their Southwestern assignments. Alone, or with a small party, they put their lives on the line in taking up their missions among Indian tribes, some of them, for instance, the Zuni and Hopi pueblos, as isolated as Mars from Spanish colonial population centers. With the strength of their faith, they induced tribal men and women to raise the walls of immense mission compounds and to embrace the life of a “utopian Christian republic,” at least until disillusionment took over. Drawing on their skills, they taught their charges new crafts, new music, new arts. In the end, if they failed, it was because the friars – products of the zeal of St. Francis, the spirituality of imperial Spain, and the brutal excesses of the Inquisition – had simply tried too hard.

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