March 15 – Explorer missionary

March 12, 2018

Eusebius Kino

A famous Jesuit missionary of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; b. 10 August, 1644, in Welschtirol (Anauniensis); d. 15 March, 1711. Kühn (his German name; Kino representing the Italian and Spanish form) entered the Upper German Province of the Society of Jesus on 20 November, 1665. He was professor of mathematics for some years at Ingolstadt, and went to Mexico in 1680. There he founded the mission of Lower California (Clavigero, “Historia della California”, Venice, 1787, I, 163 sqq.), the mission first beginning to develop when Father Kino, who had been working since 1687 in Sonora, crossed the Rio Colorado on a bold voyage of exploration, and discovered the overland route to California, which he thus demonstrated to be a peninsula. We owe our first exact information about this vast and at that time almost unknown country to the reports and cartographical sketches of Father Kino, who thoroughly explored the country several times, covering, according to Clavigero, more than 20,000 miles.

This map, which was hand-colored by cartographer Nicholas de Fer, was originally created by Fr. Kino in 1696. It is called California or New Carolina: Place of Apostolic Works of Society of Jesus at the Septentrional America.

On his apostolic activity in Sonora, Shea writes (“The Catholic Church in Colonial Days”, New York, 1886, p. 526 sq.): “He entered Upper Pimeria, 13 March, 1687, and established his first mission at Nuestra Señora de los Dolores, having gained a chief named Coxi as his first convert. From this point he extended his influence in all directions, evincing wonderful ability in gaining the Indians, and in presenting the truths of Christianity in a way to meet their comprehension and reach their hearts.” Venegas (Noticia de la California, Madrid, 1757, II, 88) and Alegre (Hist. de la Comp. de Jesús en Nueva España, II, 54 sq., 155 sq.) speak in terms of the greatest admiration of this extraordinary man. According to a manuscript account of Father P. A. Benz, S. J., Father Kino was shot by rebel Indians on 15 March, 1711. “No life”, writes Shea regretfully (loc. cit.), “has been written of this Father, who stands with the Venerable Anthony Margil as the greatest missionaries who laboured in this country.”

Manuscript sources extant of Father Kino among others: Diario del viaje hecho por las orillas del río Grande; Descripción de la Pimeria alta, Paso por tierra á la California, descubierto y demarcado por el P. Eus. Fr. Kino 1689-1701; Mapa del paso por tierra á la California, 1706. The map (Tabula Californæ anno 1702, ex autopica observatione delineata R. P. Chinoe, S. J) is printed in the Neuer Welt-Bott, pt. II, pp. 74-5;g Lettres édifiantes et curieuses, V (Paris, 1708); Scherer, Atlas novus, II, 98; The Journal de Trévoux says of the map (1704, p. 1238; cf. 1703, p. 676; 1705, p. 745): “Father Kino a German Jesuit and very clever in mathematics has made a very exact map of this whole journey”. See also Viajes á la nación Pima en California en 1694 por los PP. Jesuitas Kino y Kappus; the Historia de Sonora, cited by Alegre.

Printed sources: Several accounts and letters in the Docum. para la hist. de México, III, I, pp. 804 sqq; Scherer, op. cit. II, 101 sqq.g Extracts from letters in the Neuer Welt-Bott, pt. I, pp. 106, 109. Cf. Sommervogel, Bibl. des écrivains de la Comp. de Jésus (Brussels).

For further details of Kino’s life, see: Platzweg, Lebensbilder deutscher Jesuiten (Paderborn, 1882), 171 sqq.; Baegert, Nachrichten aus Californien (Mannheim, 1771), 198 and passim; Pfefferkorn, Sonora (Cologne, 1794), I, 3 sqq.; II, 319 sqq.; Gleeson, The Catholic Church in California, II, 94; vom Rath, Arizona (Heidelberg, 1885), 306 sqq.; Notes upon the first discovery of California (Washington, 1878); Woodstock Letters, X, 29 sqq.; 158 sqq. On the first discovery of the Casa Grande by Father Kino see (e.g.) Schoolcraft, Hist. Cond. and Pros. of American Indians, III (1853), 301.

A. HUONDER (Catholic Encyclopedia)


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