Mission Jewelry Inspired by Missions on the San Antonio
How Mission Jewelry Began
Fransiscan Missionaries
Antonio Margil - Donkey Man Cross
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                              Donkey Man Cross - Mission Jewelry  

Antonio Margil - Donkey Man Crossntonio Margil was born on August 18, 1657 in Valencia, Spain.
When not quite sixteen, he entered the Franciscan Order as a
novice (beginner) and over the subsequent months and years of
his religious training, his teachers recognized his superior
intellectual ability. They encouraged him to become a teacher in one of
Spain's universities, but Antonio had other dreams; he wanted to become a
missionary to the unschooled First People of the New World.

In 1682, shortly after his twenty-fifth birthday, he and twenty three other Franciscans left the port of Cadiz en route to the Indies. Ninety three days later they arrived at Veracruz harbor in Mexico. For the next thirty four years, Father Margil established Franciscan colleges and did mission work all over Mexico and Central America. During those years, he experienced hardships and danger and often his survival was in doubt. It was at this time that Father Antonio took to calling himself "God's donkey." He did not believe that he deserved to ride any animal. Instead, he would always carry God's message on foot. Not only did he walk every step of the way, but he insisted on going barefoot, even over the roughest of ground. One can only imagine how tough his feet became.He had calluses as thick as shoe leather, which at times had to be trimmed with a coarse wooden file.

It was not until 1716 that he was granted permission to enter Texas. His goal was to establish six new missions near the sites of two east Texas missions abandoned in 1693. When the expedition was ready to cross to the north side of the Rio Grande, Margil was sick. The main expedition delayed for seven days, but reluctantly left without him in April. He regained his strength and in June he left San Juan Bautista, crossed the river, and set his course for eastern Texas. He could cover many miles in a day, but every step was painful. He had almost no hair, his feet were horribly deformed, and his body was permanently bent forward.

In 1719, war broke out between France and Spain and the missions in east Texas had to be abandoned. Everyone, including Margil, retreated to the mission and presidio in San Antonio, later to be known as the Alamo. Margil remained in San Antonio until 1721. In 1720, he founded Mission San Jose, a short distance to the south of the Alamo. The next year he sent Agustin Patron to Matagorda Bay to begin the establishment of Mission Nuestra Senora del Espiritu Santo. Mission Espiritu Santo was moved three times. Its final location was on the San Antonio River near the present town of Goliad.

In 1722, he went back to east Texas but remained there only a short time before he was called back to Mexico to be the head of the College of Zacatecas. In 1726, his health again deteriorated and he was taken to Mexico City. On August 5, he died peacefully at the age of 69 years minus twelve days.

The two hundred year old cross acquired by Mission Jewelry at the 2010 auction has no direct connection to Antonio Margil, but our goal is to honor all those like him who sacrificed to establish missions and preach the gospel in Texas. For this reason we call the first cross to come from our shop the Donkey Man Cross.

CLICK TO ENLARGE - Donkey Man Cross Pendant - Mission Jewelry

75mm X 43mm antiqued hand hammered.

18 karat yellow gold.
Limited edition of 20.

Available in Sterling Silver.
Limited edition of 50.