Mission San Ignacio
Mission San Ignacio.
The mission in San Ignacio stands as a monument to the amazing planning ability of the Jesuit padres, leading the local Cochimie Indians in the long work. The long nave is open every day during the daylight hours and visitors are very welcome. Come in quietly, with hats off and see the great gilded wooden retabulo with old oil portraits of the saints and the old figure of Saint Ignacius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit order. One of the portraits on the right is of Saint Augustine, a portly, slow-moving man, who was one of the most profound thinkers of all time.
Stroll also through the rose garden to the north of the nave and visit the new Museo de la Mision, open from 8 a.m. till 2 p.m. Isamar Villavicencio tends the museum and will show you the old pieces rescued from dark corners of the old mission.
Mission San Ignacio side door
The garden south of the nave holds a ramp for easy access as well as the new botanical garden, with plants from the local desert. Not only cactus are included, but also all the small trees and shrubs, bushes, grasses and creepers which are often neglected. A walk round the garden can be enjoyed anytime, day or night, and offers a new view of the old church from the south side.
The excellent Museum of the Cave Paintings is in the south wing, at the top of a small staircase from the street. Do not be discouraged by the absence of a sign, because this museum is a modern jewel and includes a large reproduction of one of the great cave paintings. The caves of the Sierra de San Francisco are huge open concavities, respaldos, where the Indians over the centuries painted enormous figures. The unique element here is the abundance of huge human figures, mixed with animals and abstracts. In summer the museum is open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and closed Sundays. From October to March the museum is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and open Sundays.
There is no charge for any of these visits at the mission, but any contribution you can make will be very much appreciated. There are donation boxes inside the church and at the entrance to the Museo de la Mision.