Help Franciscan Sisters Learn More About Tohono O’odham Shrine

by Sister Julie Ann on May 21, 2014

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity receive interersting inquiries. While most are requests for further information re: call to be a Franciscan Sister, once in awhile we are invited to help someone in identification of a person, place or thing. Can you help Graham learn more about this Tohono O’odham Shrine and confirm its location in Pisinemo, AZ? Read the text and click on the photo link at the bottom.

I am trying to trace where a story of the Papago tribe about the Lady in Blue (Sor Maria de Agreda 1602-1665) happened. The story is in ‘Legends of the Spanish Southwest’, Cleve Hallenbeck & Juanita H. Williams, The Arthur H. Clark Company, Glendale, California, U.S.A., 1938, pp. 311-313).

It starts ”La Señorita Azul (the Blue Lady) visited this country in times now afar off. Before the grandfather of my grandmother’s grandfather lived. The story is even as I shall tell it. It was, as I have said, so many years ago that no man can count them. The chief of the Papago people was very old. He loved the son of his son, who one day himself would be a chief; and he loved the boy the more for the reason that the boy’s father, who was the old chief’s son, was dead. But this boy now lay very sick in the lodge of his mother, and for two days the people of the village had made prayers to their gods to spare the boy’s life.

But these prayers did not help, nor was the magic of the medicine men of any avail. It was as I have said when, at the end of a day, the men and women of the village, having partaken of their evening meal, were sitting about their fire in the plaza, but the children all were in the lodges and asleep. All were silent and were heavy of spirit because of the sickness that lay upon the son of the chief’s son.

Now, while they were so, there came a flash of white light so bright that every one was blinded by it, and when sight came slowly back to their eyes, they saw standing before them a young woman, clothed in strange robes of blue, and, my brother, she was of beauty like to that of the full moon rising over quiet waters. All were filled with fear and were unable to say or move. Then the young woman spoke to them, and bade them have no fear, but to listen to her words. Thereupon she told them of a new god, where of they had not known before, and who was not like to any of their gods, but chief of them all. For a long time she spoke, and her tongue was like to the music of a mountain stream to the ears of a very thirsty man.’

Is the location the Papago shrine “Lady of the Highway’, near Pisinemo, Arizona 1990 Look here for photo.

This is a photo of San Jose Mission, Pisinemo, AZ. Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity served here many years.

San Jose Mission Church Pisinemo AZ

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