Mission to Arizona, 1916-1940: Father Augustine Schwarz, O.F.M.


Mission to Papaguería: Our Lady, Queen of Angels, San Miguel


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LAB MSS-153/16:87

San Miguel Village lies on a flat plain just four miles north of Arizona's border with Mexico. Father Bonaventure Oblasser, O.F.M., built the original adobe school and chapel in 1913, which is the east-west section at the north end of the newer stone church, Our Lady, Queen of Angels. The natural stone nave, of mission revival style, was added between 1922 and 1923, while the bell tower went up in 1932. The school is pictured to the east of the church; the feast house is on the west.

Writing to The Indian Sentinel in 1939, Father Augustine said that "the school at San Miguel seems to be headed for first place among our Papago schools this year" noting enrollment of 44 pupils.


He went on to say that when the mission was begun in 1913 there were six Catholic families. "Today," he said, "one hundred and fifty Papagoes, almost the entire village, are Catholics."


Writing in the same issue, resident Louise Pablo told how she had taught the older children of her tribe for seven years before sisters were found to teach at the school


Now, in 2001, the children are being bused to newer schools on the reservation. Sadly, the 1913 school building, chapel, and feast house lie abandoned, their roofs badly decayed.


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LAB FILM S104:137 School
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LAB FILM S104:138 Feast House

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LAB FILM S104:131
A fresh coat of white paint brightens the bell tower and trim of the church, while the Virgin stands in a niche in the bell tower, a vase of fresh flowers at her feet.

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