This work makes a case for the study of ascetic practices in colonial Spanish-Americam society and historiography through an analysis of the eighteenth-century histories of the Jesuit missions in Lower California. The analysis will focus on the representation of the missionary's submission to the instruction of the inhabitants of the peninsula, described by Jesuit authors as "el rudo y penoso magisterio de un indio", in order to learn languages with little or no history of European contact. Jesuit narrative sought to reaffirm the mastery of Jesuit missionaries over their Amerindian catechumen by framing the missionary's experience within the Western ascetic tradition, thus uniting the Christian concept of magisterium with the ascetic ideal. Notwithstanding the Jesuits' performance of this tradition, these texts also reveal the unstable dialectic of colonial mimesis in which it is never clear who represents the legitimate reproduction and who represents the generate or parodic copy. Despite Jesuit authors' affirmations to the contrary, the missionary's performance of magisterium and the ascetic ideal ultimately depended on the colonizers' display of violence force, which assured the direction of acculturation and the reproduction of Castilian-Christian hegemony.