In Mexico and the southwestern United States the
figure of the missionary and scientist Eusebio Francesco Chini is well known.
In this region of North America, he is usually called Padre Kino, an adaptation
of his surname that he himself introduced. The outstanding qualities of this
Jesuit—“his heroic virtues,” in the expression used by the Congregation for the
Causes of Saints—have now been recognized at the level of the universal Church.
In fact, Pope Francis authorized the publication of the decree recognizing the
heroic virtues of Father Kino on 10 July. This is the path that leads to the
next stage, that of beatification.
Born in Segno (Trentino, Italy) in 1645, Eusebio
Chini studied with the Jesuits in Trento and in Hall, in the Austrian Tirol. He
joined the Society of Jesus in 1665 in Landsberg (Bavaria, Germany). He studied
in various universities in southern Germany and was ordained a priest in 1677. Assigned
to the missions, he arrived in Mexico in 1681. Six years later, in 1687, he was
stationed in Pimería Alta, which for 24 years served as the centre from which
he carried out his work of evangelisation and scientific activity. He explored
the country tirelessly on horseback; it is estimated that he traveled some
30,000 km. He died in 1711 in Magdalena (Sonora, Mexico).