We took a must-visit to the San Xavier Mission just outside Tucson. Standing alone in the desert, it’s an impressive example of 18th century Spanish colonial architecture. Marvel at the devotion of its builders, but also reflect on its role in Catholicizing the indigenous Tohono Oʼodham (Desert People), on whose land the mission stands. The mission was named after Francis Xavier, a leading figure in the Catholic counter-reformation and founder of the Jesuit Order. Jesuits were fanatical in their determination to capture souls, a role that fit well with the imperial ambitions of the Spanish military authorities who then claimed this area. The mission church, though built with indigenous labour, is distinctly European in style.