Through a great and terrible wilderness, with serpents, scorpions, and thirsty ground, he sowed peace and sustenance and left an enduring mark on the New World.

A celebrated teacher of mathematics and astronomy, Eusebio Kino’s future promised to be comfortable and secure. Jesuit elders urged the young priest to continue his ministry in education. But a greater voice called, and Father Kino answered by pursuing a lifetime of danger and uncertainty.

Leaving the cool Italian Alps for the blistering unexplored Spanish Territory—in areas now known as Sonora, Mexico, and the state of Arizona in the United States—Father Kino spread the joy and salvation of Christ while honoring and respecting the cultures and beliefs of the indigenous people he served. Though a man of peace and humility, Father Kino righteously clashed with the Spanish colonists, military, and government over their exploitation and enslavement of local tribes. To the priest fighting for social justice, it often seemed his fellow Europeans needed more ministry than the so-called “heathens” they were trying to control.

Prevailing over nature, distrust, betrayal, and cultural barriers, Father Kino travelled 50,000 miles on horseback to establish over twenty Jesuit missions, personally baptize over four thousand, and solve one of Baja, California’s greatest mysteries.

By Nicole Gregory

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