San Francisco is one of the oldest churches in Antigua, dating from 1579. When we visited recently, I was under the impression that there were only ruins from the old monastery to be seen, but as we arrived, there was a huge procession entering the church and many bombas (fireworks that just make load booms) going off.
The float being carried into the church is for Hermano Pedro de Betancourt, a Franciscan from the Canary Islands (1626-1667) who is credited with miraculous healing powers. He was made Central America’s first saint by Pope John Paul II in 2002.
His tomb is in the church and there is a museum with a hall of miracles which contains a myriad of crutches, braces and walking sticks from pilgrims, as well as many plaques giving thanks for his services.
The ruins were quite vast as well. There was much more to be seen than I initially thought, so it was a pleasant surprise.