Luis María Marciano


Ginny Sphar

“Missions”[1] to New Spain had been sent three times since the death of Kino in 1711. The Mission of 1712 had only five men. The Mission of 1719 brought 16 Jesuits. That of 1723 furnished 20 priests. Few of these reached the missions; they were placed in parishes, schools, and seminaries in more settled districts.[2]

Due to Velarde’s appeal for more missionaries, the year 1720 brought help. Among the 16 Jesuits who came in the Mission of 1719, were Fathers Luís María Marciano and Luís María Gallardi. Temporarily they stayed in the older missions to learn the language of Pimas Altos.

The following year, 1720, Marciano took over Januski’s mission of Tubutama.[3] Father Marciano then served at San Ignacio in 1722-1723, during the absence of Father Campos in Mexico City. He did double duty here, directing his own mission at Tubutama and also San Ignacio. By 1726 he was at Tecoripa. In 1734 he became the Visitador of Sonora. Father Segesser took over at Tecoripa when he left. In 1736, when Campos’ mental condition required his replacement, Marciano had the unhappy task of directing his removal.[4]

The presidio at Pitic loomed large in the relations between the missionaries and the new governor, Vildósola, appointed in June 1741. From the start, the Jesuits under Marciano feared the effect of Pitic on the Seris. The new presidio bordered too closely the lands of the peaceful Seris. The presence of the presidial company and the usual compliment of neighboring settlers must provoke trouble. Marciano and the governor disputed the point so heatedly that the missionaries blamed Vildósola for the death of Father Marciano.[5]

[1] The term “Mission” meant the entire group of European priests sent to Spanish possessions at any one time.

[2] Lazaro de Aspurz, O.F.M. Cap., La Aportación Extranjera a las Misiones Españolas del Patronato Regio (Madrid, Consejo de le Hispanidad, 1946), pp 278-319, gives a compendium of these Missions, listed by date of sailing; on the requests which the colonial Jesuits were trying to meet, see ABZ, IV, passim.

[3] AHH, Temp., Leg. 297, exped. 107, f. 3, “Plan of the Missions.” A word of caution must be inserted regarding Marciano’s career. Possibly misled by the padre’s handwriting, Bancroft in his works distinguishes three individuals: Marciano, Marjiano, and Marciamares. See, for instance, Bancroft, North Mexico, I, 507. Double checking by means of other official mission documents revealed the presence of only one man even though the padre varied his own signature sufficiently to abet the error.

[4] Bancroft, Mexican States, Vol. I, p. 507; Decorme, Obra, Vol. II, p. 437; Cañas, “Estado, 1730,” p. 620; Donohue, “Jesuit Missions,” pp. 14, 16, and note 23, 92, and note 17.

[5] Tamarón, Demonstratión, p. 417, for the peace between the Seris and Vildósola’s government.


Marciano’s connection to Tumacácori was presumably when he took over for Campos at San Ignacio.

Source Material:

John Augustine Donohue, After Kino

Donohue, Jesuit Missions in New Spain, Vols. I and II

Roca, Paths of the Padres through Sonora

Last updated: February 24, 2015

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 8067
Tumacacori, AZ 85640


520 377-5060

Contact Us