Church of San Francisco

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.

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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.

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The ruins were quite vast as well. There was much more to be seen than I initially thought, so it was a pleasant surprise.

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