Luis Maria Gallardi


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 members. 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, seminaries, and in more settled districts.[2]

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

The following year, 1720, Gallardi began 15 years’ activity in Pimería Alta by replacing Saeta and Velarde at Caborca.[3]

Now in 1721, over a quarter of a century after Saeta’s death in the rebellion of 1695, much remained for him to accomplish to make this post a permanent link in Kino’s chain of missions in the Pimería Alta.[4]

At Caborca, Gallardi also guided two other stations, Pitiquín and Oquitoa. Here 1000 individuals reversed the industriousness of those at Tubutama. Perhaps their laziness came from a very hot climate, Caborca being only 20 leagues from the Gulf of California. It had been the Oquitoans who had murdered Saeta in the revolt of 1695. Each Pueblo had its chapel and the vestments strictly necessary for the celebration of mass; none had a priest’s house or a church.[5]

Twelve years after Kino’s death in 1711, the mission field still presented problems. Four priests cared for 15 pueblos of its four head missions.

The visit of Bishop Crespo to Sonora in 1725 finally gained more missionaries for Pimería Alta. New arrivals came in 1731. Velarde, Gallardi, and Campos preserved the Kino tradition and passed it on to a new generation of missionary expansionists.

In the campaign against the Seris in 1725-26 at the request of the Alcalde of Sonora, Campos and Gallardi had outfitted Piman Auxiliaries to campaign against Tiburon Island. The mission had paid the cost. Gallardi served as chaplain and Campos conducted a military headquarters at Caborca.[6]

By 1725, Gallardi had left Caborca and replaced Marciano at Tubutama, leaving Caborca with no missionary. In July, 1730, Father Cañas as Local Visitor, compiled a triemial report on Jesuit Sonora. This document usually is known to historians as the Anonymous Estado de la Provincia de Sonora. In this report it tells of an incident that happened to Father Gallardi at Tubutama. He was sleeping, when two persons of the pueblo started firing arrows at him. One cut through his blanket, another cut his pillow, and a third tore his clothes. None touched Gallardi. This showed the unsure skill of the Pimas. They hurriedly fled.[7]

The Mission of 1730 brought 18 Germans. Among them were Segesser, Keller, and Grazhoffer. These three went on to Cucurpe where they met their new Superior, Gallardi and the two “oldest priests,” Campos and Velarde.[8]

Father Gallardi died early in 1736. Father Velarde succeeded him as Superior of Pimería.[9]

Father Jacobo Sedelmayer arrived at Tubutama to replace Gallardi.

[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 la 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. 279, exped. 107, f. 3, “Plan of the Missions.”

[4] There are several accounts of the rebellion of 1695. See, for instance, Bolton, Rim, pp. 293-306.

[5] Januski, Brief Report, ff. 2-3. In 1695 Januski had been the padre at Tubutama. The people of this mission were generally regarded as responsible for the revolt. His insistence on the culpability of the Indians of Oquitoa is interesting.

[6] This activity formed part of the Seri revolt and its repression described in Almada, Diccionario, pp. 738 and following; see above, Chapter IV.

[7] For the Gallardi Incident, see Doc. Hist. Mex., Seri III, p. 629.

[8] Hammond, “Pimería,” p. 228.

[9] Dunne, “Campos,” p. 50, death of Gallardi; Texas, Stephens, No. 1747, ff. 25-34, Letter of Father Toral to Father Provincial.


On January 13, 1723, Gallardi baptized a number of persons at Tumacácori as recorded in the San Ignacio Book.

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

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