Florencio Ibañez


Ginny Sphar

Florencio Ibañez is one of the priests who is not listed in the group of Jesuit and Franciscan priests that is in our museum.

During the two years following Father Carillo’s death, the people of Tumacácori saw a succession of five missionaries not one of whom except Gutiérrez was happy at Tumacácori. Father Ibañez was number one.

He was born October 26, 1740, in the city of Tarazona, Spain. At age sixteen, he entered the Franciscan Order at the Convento of Nuestra Señora de Jesus in Zaragosa, Spain.[1] He reached the Americas with the Mission of 1770 to the College of San Fernando, Mexico City. There he excelled in choir and in painting choir books. From 1774 to 1781 he served as a choirmaster and Latin teacher in the Franciscan province of Michoacán.

Joining the College of Querétaro, he came to the Pimería by 1783. Most of the time thereafter he spent at Sáric, 20 miles up the AltarRiverValley from Tubutama and Father Iturralde. At Sáric he built a church of fired brick and lime mortar and quarreled with his brethren. According to Father Iturralde, Ibañez was not fit to be alone in the missions or in anyone else’s company and was also a born troublemaker. Iturralde (Father President) wanted Ibañez to retire to the College of Querétaro, but he refused to do so. Father Iturralde was stuck with him.

By December 1795, Ibañez was minister at Tumacácori. Because Gutiérrez had not been well, Father President still had not removed him. Besides, Ibañez and Gutiérrez deserved each other. Relations between the two were not cordial. Five months earlier, Ibañez had roasted Gutiérrez in a letter to the College of Querétaro. Shortly after Gutiérrez had arrived at Tumacácori he had convinced Carillo to fire the mayerdomo for dishonesty. He (Gutiérrez) had taken charge of economic affairs, keeping all the keys except for livestock, and sick old Carillo let him have his way. Evidently Gutiérrez wanted to build the new church so long overdue at Tumacácori. Gutiérrez’s objectionable behavior, Ibañez hinted, had driven Carillo to the grave.[2]

The two did not have to suffer each other’s company for long. Father Visitor Bringas sent Ibañez to Caborca, where two young interns, Father Mariano Bordoy and Ángel Alonso de Prado had newly arrived. By 1797, Ibañez was back at Sáric. That Easter season, Ibañez and Gutiérrez performed their spiritual exercises together at Sáric and emerged allies.
After 16 years in Pimería Alta, Ibañez left Sáric in the company of a merchant on
August 12, 1798, and, to all appearances, was finished as a missionary. Yet three years later he landed at the Port of Monterey in Alta California. At age 60 he was ready to renew his career. He had quit the College of Querétaro and rejoined the College of San Fernando. For 19 more years Ibañez lived the life of a missionary at Missions San Antonio and Soledad in California. He died at SoledadNovember 26, 1818. He was buried in the church. He is remembered as a musician and author of nativity plays.[3] Ibañez made only two entries in the Tumacácori book, both baptisms, December 18 and 24, 1795.[4] He was buried at Mission Soledad in a church (not existing today) that was built previous to the restored chapel standing today. The church was built to the right of the Padre’s quarters and stood until 1831 when it collapsed in a flood.

[1] Iturralde to Bringas, Tubutama, September 24, 1795, and Santa Teresa, December 8, 1795, CC, 203.35-36. Born October 26, 1740, in the city of Tarazona, Ibañez, at age 16, entered the order at the Convento of Nuestra Señora de Jesus in Zaragosa, the same house where Juan Chrisóstomo Gil de Bernabé had been invested a decade earlier. Lista de los cuarenta y nueve, 1769, AGI, Guad., 369. Geiger, Franciscan Missionaries in Hispanic California, 1769-1848, pp. 124-25.

[2]Iturralde to Father Guardian, Tubutama, December 4, 1797, CC, misc.

[3]Ibañez to Father Guardian, Sáric, March 28, and July 3, 1798, CC, misc. Iturralde to Ibañez, Tubutama, March 19, 1798, CC, 203.26 and 203.25. Iturralde to Miralles, Tubutama, May 4 and October 2, 1798, CC, 203.26 and 29. Geiger, Franciscan Missionaries, p. 125. See also Ibañez, Los Pastores (the Shepherds), trans. Maria López de Lowther.

[4]Ibañez made only two entries in the Tumacácori books, both baptisms, December 18 and 24, 1795. Gutiérrez made the entries before and after.

a flood.

Last updated: February 24, 2015

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