Lesson 701 – Father Kino and the Southwest

In the late 1600s, the Spanish Crown sent Catholic missionaries to northwest Mexico to pacify Indians and make the way for European settlers. One cleric is remembered for his charisma, his geographic wandering, and his penchant for founding missions, including the architectural masterpiece of the Southwest, the Mission San Xavier del Bac: Francisco Eusebio Kino.

Learning Objective

Students will learn about Francisco Eusebio Kino and his life, and the importance of the Mission San Xavier del Bac.

Social Studies Standards

Civic Ideals & Practices: A, C

Discussion Prompts

  • In this video, Father Kino is referred to as a hero. What evidence from the video demonstrates this? Do you think he was a hero? Why or why not?
  • Why wasn’t Dolores a successful mission like San Xavier? What kind of land and environmental conditions in the surrounding area are needed to make a mission successful and why?
  • Discuss the following statement. “Father Kino was more of a humanitarian than a theologian, more of a geographer than a missionary, more of an explorer than a priest.” In your opinion, which of these made him so revered and famous, or do you think it was a combination of all?
  • It is stated that the Mission San Xavier is a living church. What does this mean? Give examples. Is there a living church in your area?

Lesson Activities

  • Write at least five interview questions for a news feature about Father Kino that illustrates his many roles such as missionary, cosmographer, geographer, ecologist and more.
  • San Xavier is called the most magnificent example of architecture of any age in the Southwest. Create a visual representation that includes architectural elements and illustrates details that show why it’s considered a masterpiece.
  • Imagine you are the manager for the San Xavier Mission and you have been asked to create a plan to preserve and maintain the mission. Keep in mind the living religious heritage goals and the fact that the mission is open to the public.
  • Select three churches mentioned in the video in addition to the Mission San Xavier and create a visual map with the church’s name, description, location and why it’s famous.


  • accumulation
  • conquest
  • dominated
  • embody
  • enterprising
  • flourish
  • incalculable
  • malleable
  • preservation
  • revered


In the Americas Season 7 Lesson Episode 1