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Hermano Pedro

One note-worthy historical figure in Antigua that still affects the lives of many Guatemalans today is Hermano Pedro. Also known as the Saint Francis of the Americas, he came to Antigua from Spain about 1650, importing with him the tradition of Semana Santa or Holy Week. He made the first alfombra, intricate carpets of dyed sawdust created for religious processions to traipse along, and led the first procession.

During his life, he helped the poor and less fortunate and opened a hospital, a shelter for the homeless, and schools. He was beatified in 1980 and canonized in 2002. Many devout Guatemalans still fervently pray at his tomb in the church of San Francisco El Grande believing in his divine powers to cure the afflicted and crippled. The messages of gratitude, photographs and abandoned crutches that plaster the walls in the church museum dedicated to his life bear witness to this.

Many buildings are named after him and the Ruta de Peregrino or pilgrim’s route in Antigua traces the significant places in his life, including many of the city’s churches and ruins. Maps of the route can be obtained from the Tourism Office.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Antigua: History of Antigua,

By Lucy Brown

29 Jan 2010

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