important to note that in this page are included only
some places where Santo Hermano Pedro had a presence.
Also, that today some of those places were destroyed or are
not easily accessible, for the curse of the time, as a result
of earthquakes, or have been destined for other activities;
such is the case of Telares de Don Pedro de Almengor [in
ruins]; Hospital Real de Santiago [in
ruins]; Iglesia y
Convento de la Compañía de Jesús, whose ruins of the above
mentioned Convent were reconstructed by Agencia Española
de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo -
[Spanish Agency of International Cooperation for the
Centro de Formación de la Cooperación Española en La Antigua
[Training Center of Spanish Agency for International Cooperation] functions; and the former Hospital de Nuestra Señora de Belén
whose ruins were reconstructed for the operation of Posada Belén, which is particularly intended for conducting spiritual
retreats, and whose management is in charge of Hermanas Bethlemitas.
Santiago de los Caballeros was the name of the city
founded on march 10, 1543, which at present is known as La
Antigua Guatemala or La Antigua.
In La Antigua Guatemala, you can make a walk by the streets
and avenues of this colonial city to know some places in which Hermano
Pedro had presence; visiting the Sanctuary where his remains
are; and to know the places in which, as an example of his
principles of charity and mercy, a charitable work toward the
poorest and most
continue. In addition, visiting
the temples and churches where the parishioners manifest a
great religious fervor.
compilation constitutes only an orientation for a pilgrim trail:
Telares de Don Pedro de Armengol, en ruinas
[Don Pedro de Armengol
Looms, in ruins]
the entrance to the city]
On September 4, 1651, Hermano Pedro went to work as a weaver
in the cloths looms, which were located near
the entrance to
the city. The owner of that factory was the second lieutenant Don Pedro de Armengol.
In the looms worked more than 400 slaves and forced
(prisoners) from the eight prisons of the city. Hermano Pedro
worked in the weaving until the year 1653, giving an example
of goodness and righteousness to all.
When he finished his task, he helped the needy and then prayed
the rosary and read a small religious book.
This place was the first missionary field of Hermano Pedro
because there he improvised as a catechist for the factory
him as virtuous and
well respected him.
realized all the works of charity that he exercised later in
his hospital with those poor prisoners.
Looms of Don Pedro de Armengol suffered considerable damage
from the earthquake happened in 1773.
are the only ones
Ruins closed to the public
Escultura al Santo Hermano Pedro
y el Puente del Matasano
in memory of
Santo Hermano Pedro
and El Matasano Bridge]
to this colonial city]
On September 18, 1649, with the desire to
in the new kingdom, Pedro de Betancur
embarked at Vilaflor going to Honduras, but having to arrive
firstly to La Habana, Cuba. Waiting to continue his trip, he
learned the profession of the weaver.
At the end of January 1651, it was reporting that the ship in
which he had done the trip would go out of Cuba toward Honduras, with passengers that took their goods to Guatemala.
When listening the name of Guatemala, he exclaimed:
"To that city I want to go,
because with joyfulness and superior force I am inclined to
walk toward it, after I have heard its name; being so is this
the first time that I hear its name."
Afterwards disembarking at
Honduras, he went
immediately on foot toward Guatemala. Finally, he arrived to Petapa, and kneeling he kissed the earth, as if he had been
conscious of seeing the place where God had brought him, and
prayed to the Angel's Queen. Standing, gladly he contemplated
the city exclaiming:
I must live and die."
He followed his road toward the city of Santiago de los
Caballeros, to which arrived on February 18, 1651.
While he was prostrating and kissing the ground on Puente de las Monjas de la Concepción or Puente del Matasano,
a strong tremor shook the city. Hermano Pedro, full of scare
and confusion, thought that this happened because he, a great
sinner, entered the city. On his knees, he asked God
forgiveness and mercy.
In this place, there is a sculpture in memory of
Hospital Real de Santiago, en ruinas
Hospital of Santiago, in ruins]
Oriente -Calle de los Carros- y 2a. Avenida Sur]
After his long and risky trip, Hermano Pedro, tired and sick,
the city of Santiago de los Caballeros. Newcomer, he
went to Hospital Real
de Santiago to heal.
Ruins closed to the public
Pedro regained his health and left the Hospital, experienced
the many dangers to those who convalescent were exposed,
especially the outsiders and the dispossessed, which did not
have any person who take care of them and give them
In addition, he spent the first days of his convalescence to
visit the temples, sanctuaries, pious places and hospitals.
The time of the
convalescence was for
Hermano Pedro a hard experience,
because to survive he had to beg and he was eating as poor
person in the gate of
San Francisco. In the nights, he did not
take place adapted to rest and was going away for the
El Calvario. He shared the destiny of needy, many
people who were strolling around for the streets and were
sleeping under the portals.
Hermano Pedro had learned in the school of experience to be
charitable, because during the time he was sick at the Hospital observed the suffering of people who had no help.
suffered considerable damage from
the earthquake happened in 1773. At present, this Hospital is
Iglesia de la Merced
Avenida Norte y 1a. Calle Poniente, end of Calle del Arco]
In 1658, Hermano Pedro received as alms of generous neighbors
forty Pesos that utilized for buying a small land with its
ranch of straw and that would be used as a convalescent
Hermano Pedro, happy with the economic aid, ran to thank to
Nuestra Señora de la Merced, showing the money.
At present, Iglesia de la Merced is very visited by the
faithful believers to worship the image of Jesús Nazareno, and the image of Nuestra Señora de la Merced,
Patroness of the city.
On April 3, 2004, City Council of the colonial city proclaimed
Jesús Nazareno de la Merced as
Protector and Intercessor of Antiguans.
Iglesia y Convento de la Compañía de Jesús
de Jesús Church and Convent]
Calle Poniente y 6a. Avenida Norte]
In 1652, Hermano Pedro, with the desire of being a priest and
enduring many adversities, began studies in Colegio de San
Lucas de la Compañía de Jesús.
year was of introduction and learning because he hardly knew
Compañía de Jesús Church, in ruins.
Ruins closed to the public
Although studied much, he never could learn the nominative
from the Latin,
had learned in one
day, the next day it had
respected him but
did not stop
laughing at him.
When a religious man [Hermano Terciario]
Hermano Pedro discouraged with the
studies, advised him to leave the school and to move to El Calvario,
pointing out a Crucified Christ's image and explained him the
doctrine of the Cross; also recommended him to take the habit
of Tercera Orden de Penitencia de San Francisco.
Dispelled the project
to be a priest,
disconsolate he escaped from the
city for not returning to the
some years before brought him to the city,
he went to Petapa [nowadays Villa Canales]
and entered in a hermitage where an image of Virgen
del Rosario received very
Being in pray,
because he did not know that direction to give to his life, he
received the illumination that looked for: "He should return
to the city of Santiago de los Caballeros and to be devoted to the service of
God, leaving everything".
Hermano Pedro, afflicted and tearful, seeing that could not
improve in the study and that it was almost impossible to
learn the grammar from the Latin, in mid-1654, decided to
leave his studies and requested the habit of that Order.
Compañía de Jesús Church and Convent
suffered considerable damage from the earthquake happened in
1773. At present, this
church is in ruins. The reconstruction
works of these ruins are in charge of Agencia Española
de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo -
[Spanish Agency of International
Cooperation for the Development].
Ruins of the church are closed to the public.
In 1997, were inaugurated the reconstruction works of Convento
de la Compañía de Jesús and the opening of Centro
de Formación de la Cooperación Española en La Antigua
[Training Center of Spanish Agency for
Compañía de Jesús Convent,
Parroquia de San José
José Catedral Parish]
Avenida Norte y 5a. Calle Oriente,
in front of
Plaza Mayor - Parque Central]
The construction of the first Cathedral began in 1545. That
building was demolished in 1668.
of the new Cathedral began in 1669, which was
inaugurated in 1680, being one of the most important temples
of Spanish-America in the colonial time.
In its facade, there
are sculptures that represent the twelve Apostles and four
Fathers of the Church. In the central niche, two sculptures
represent, one, Padre Eterno, and the other
one, Virgen de la Asunción.
colonial times and every Thursday of the Corpus Christi
religious festivity, from the Cathedral church took place a
solemn procession of the Blessed Sacrament making its way
through the streets of the city. On this day, with a float
well decorated and many people, Hermano Pedro accompanied the
procession doing of his cloak a flag up on a wooden pole.
Constantly waved his flag in front of the
during the procession, accompanying the movement of his arms
and feet with happy jumps. At the same time, he sang some
songs he had written to the mystery.
The Cathedral church suffered considerable damages from the
earthquake happened in 1773. By virtue of it, the religious
images of this place of worship were sheltered in Iglesia de
San Jose that had
fewer damages from the telluric devastation. When the partial
restoration of the Cathedral church was concluded, those
religious images that had been moved returned to its previous
house. In recognition and gratefulness to the divinity, later,
the new church was named Parroquia de San José Catedral, while
the ruins of the original Iglesia de San José are now known as
the ruins of Iglesia de San José El Viejo.
San José Catedral, is very visited by the faithful
Templo de San Francisco,
Santuario del Santo Hermano Pedro
[San Francisco Temple, Santo
Hermano Pedro Sanctuary]
Calle Oriente y Calle de los Pasos]
After Hermano Pedro's death in Hospital de Nuestra Señora de
Belén, and keeping vigil over his body in Iglesia del Oratorio
de la Escuela de Cristo, the
coffin was moving on the shoulders of noble and religious
groups for the burial inside Templo
San Francisco El Grande. In the streets, there were many people and the church was so
full, that the coffin entered difficulty. The Bishop presided
the holding of solemn Mass and then he proceeded to the
Superior of Convento
San Francisco decided that the body
should be buried in the vault of common burial of the
religious, "making for humble Hermano Pedro, among other, this
unique honor, to do number with such incomparable men".
Owing to the reconstruction works and repairs of Templo
Francisco, the mortal
remains of Hermano Pedro were moving to
different chapels in the years 1686, 1692 and 1817.
On October 28, 1990, after the last canonical recognition, the
remains of Hermano Pedro were placed in a special sepulcher
built in the former Capilla de la Vera Cruz, inside
Templo de San
Francisco. On July 30, 2002, His
Holiness Pope John Paul II
celebrated a Eucharist for
Canonization of Hermano Pedro.
The presence of
the remains of
Pedro is the
reason why Arzobispo de Guatemala, Monseñor
Rodolfo Quezada Toruño (†), raised Templo de San Francisco to Santuario Arquidiocesano
on july 30, 2003.
In this Santuario [Sanctuary]
is observed a great
religious fervor in the veneration of Santo Hermano Pedro,
since the faithful believers,
of different cultures and languages, visit him touching his sepulcher
to warn their presence and to tell him their hardships and
happiness, to request his material and spiritual help, and to
thank him for the obtained miracles; placing him candles of
different colors that represent a
special petition depending on the person’s necessities.
Santo Hermano Pedro Sepulcher
of Santo Hermano Pedro has three wood carvings that represent: Hospital of Belén and the charities of Hermano Pedro; Hermano
Pedro recumbent worshipped by people; in addition, Hermano
Pedro diffuses Jesus’ Birth.
Museo del Santo Hermano Pedro
Hermano Pedro Museum]
The door situated in the ruins of the south tower of
Templo de San Francisco enables to visit Museo del Santo Hermano Pedro,
or ruinas del Convento de San Francisco [San Francisco Convent
This Museum opened its doors, in 1982, so that the visitors
can appreciate Hermano Pedro’s belongings that have been
preserved by Franciscan Congregation. At the beginning of
2002, the facilities of this Museum were restored; the reason
why now it has two rooms and a corridor between them, to
In the first room or Sala Colonial are exposing:
images, priestly vestment, and other religious objects that
have belonged to the Franciscan Congregation from the colonial
time, an altarpiece of the seventeen-century, some Mayan
ceramic collections, and coin collections of República
In the corridor, denominated Pasillo de los Milagros
have been gathered several objects, among
them: orthopedic apparatuses, plaques of gratitude, paintings
and pictures that the faithful believers have left as a
testimony of received the blessings of God by Hermano Pedro’s
In the second room, or Sala del Santo Hermano Pedro are conserved,
among other religious objects, documents of Hermano
Pedro's beatification process, his belongings, paintings made by different artists
through the time, among them the oldest about Hermano Pedro,
medals and commemorative postal stamps, and a beautiful relic
[a piece of bone of Hermano Pedro].
In addition, there are the coffers in
those who were deposited
the remains of Hermano Pedro from 1817 to 1990, when they were
moved to the new and current sepulcher.
Calle de los Pasos
of the Steps]
[In front of Templo de San Francisco]
In 1618, the
Brotherhood of Tercera Orden de Penitencia de San
decided to have own church and acquired a
land to build a Calvary at 1322 steps from Templo de San Francisco
that, according to what the Franciscan
tradition say, is the distance between the Praetor and the
Mount Calvary; that is to say, the steps that Jesus walked on his sacrosanct way.
II Station of the Cross
the beginning of Calle de los Pasos
In addition, the fourteen Stations of the Cross [Estaciones
del Vía Crucis] were recognized at that way, initially
indicating them with small crosses, then with blankets and
finally with the construction of chapels, denominating the
route, in that time, Calle de la Amargura, now Calle de los
At Calle de los Pasos are situated the chapels representing
from the II to the VIII Estaciones del Vía Crucis.
Currently, Calle de los Pasos ends at the beginning of the
boulevard of double route known as Avenida del Calvario, where
the chapels that represent the IX and the X Estaciones del Vía
Crucis are located.
The chapel that represents the XI Estación del Via Crucis is
located in the atrium of Ermita del Santo Calvario.
In its interior, these chapels have sheltered paintings,
realized in the colonial time, representing each one of them
Jesus’ Passion. To preserve the valuable paintings, these
chapels remain closed every day of the year, except during
Lent and Holy-Week, time in
which the above-mentioned chapels are open and the
faithful believers can observe the paintings and to
had great devotion toward Jesus’ Passion.
In the love of Crucified Christ had rooted his expiatory
In Lent time and as
self-punishment on Fridays, Hermano Pedro, dressed in
Nazarene and carrying a heavy cross, realized his nocturnal Estaciones del Vía Crucis
[Stations of the Cross] at Calle de la Amargura. He knew that the path of
the Cross was the road to find Jesus;
he wanted to feel the same that Jesus
felt in his body, to suffer the fatigue, the thirst, the
lashes and even the blood.
Templo de la Escuela de Cristo
de Cristo Temple]
de los Pasos y 9a. Calle "A" Oriente]
After Hermano Pedro's death, the Bishop decided to keep vigil
over the body, on April 25, 1667, by night, in Iglesia del
Oratorio de la Escuela de Cristo.
For the movement, the coffin was placed in the float
property of the
Bishop; while all the dignitaries walked escorting to whom in
life was considered by him the minimum of all.
The popular worship for Hermano Pedro was overflowing. It was
necessary taking serious measurements to bring order to the
enthusiasm of the persons, since they all wanted a relic, a
piece of his clothes, even of his hair. There came also the
authorities of the city and the Bishop with his council.
Seeing that all knelt before the dead, the Bishop said
“Apologize the formalities and praise God in his humble
servant. Everyone thinks in your interior the concept that
dictates his exemplary life that, for my part, I consider him
as a great man worthy of any reverence.”
dawn until the time of burial, Masses were celebrated in fixed
and portable altars without interruption, while from the
adjacent villages many people were gathering continuously.
Hospital e Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Belén,
actualmente, Posada Belén
Hospital and Church of Nuestra Señora de Belén, at present,
del Santo Hermano Pedro, Plaza a la Paz]
In 1663, Hermano Pedro decided to begin the
construction of a bigger infirmary and he bought an adjacent
land to which he already had. He wrote to King Felipe IV to
inform him about the difficulties that the sick people
suffered when leaving the hospitals, requesting him the
license to found a convalescent
On December 7, 1663, Hermano Pedro named a procurator to
obtain in Corte de
Madrid the approval of that hospital.
In 1664, Hermano Pedro began the construction of the hospital
without enough resources. For that reason, he worked with his
own hands, and imitated him many more. His humility was
absolute, he appealed to the mendicancy for the edification of
this hospital, and maintenance of the sick and convalescent
people. The construction concluded in 1665, named it Hospital
de Nuestra Señora de Belén.
His longings were to have in the hospital a perennial source
of water for health and charity to help everybody who needed
it. His concern was that people who went into the hospital to
recover the health of the body leave the place better in
health of the soul, and he requested them to pay to God the
benefit of the health with the amendment of their lives.
Pedro wrote a regulation that was
also adopted by women who attended the education of children;
emerging, what later would be Orden Bethlemita.
In 1665, he obtained Bishop's permission to change his last
name, as the religious made it, and to be called from that day
on Pedro de San José de Betancur.
He was a man that enjoyed good health; however, the contact
with the sick people, his continuous fasts and wakefulness,
his disciplines of blood, and his nocturnal barefoot hikes and
without coat, made shrink his physical constitution; being on
April 14, 1667, when he began to feel the symptoms of a
On April 20, 1667, already sick of gravity, in Hospital
de Nuestra Señora de
advised by his confessors and in obedience to the rule
of Tercera Orden,
Hermano Pedro made and signed his will, in which he
requested as charity to be buried in Templo de
San Francisco, where is the burial
place of the religious.
In his last days, he tightened in his hands a crucifix. When
the hour of his dead arrived, he lifted his arms to a painting
of El Tránsito del Glorioso San José [St. Joseph's Glorious
Transit], and with gestures of wanting to embrace it, his face
was illuminating with a sweet smile and an incomparable
happiness; and being as beside himself said: "This is my
On April 25, 1667, Hermano Pedro died at
the age of 41 and at 15 years of having arrived in Guatemala.
Place where Hermano Pedro died
This place is located at former Hospital de Nuestra Señora de Belén,
Nuestra Señora de Belén Hospital,
Church and Convent
suffered serious damage from the earthquake
happened in 1773. At present, this Hospital is in ruins.
Church and Convent have been reconstructed and presently
Hermanas Bethlemitas are in charge of the administration.
This place is known as Posada Belén, used only for
Ermita del Santo Calvario
[End of Alameda del Calvario]
After leaving his
studies in Colegio de San Lucas, Hermano Pedro worked,
until June 1654, in the construction of El Calvario. In
July of the same year, he moved to live in El Calvario as superintendent of the work, making it with willingness,
humility and resignation. At that place, he requested to join
in the Tercera Orden de Penitencia de San Francisco.
In early January 1655, Hermano Pedro had a mystic experience; he felt very near to
Jesús Nazareno [Jesus
the Nazarene]. This experience motivated Hermano Pedro's
heart with infinite love and compassion toward Jesus
[Bethlehem, the Cross and the
Eucharist] and the suffering of the
On January 14, 1655, Superior de la Tercera Orden
gave to Hermano Pedro the interior
habit, and in 24 of the same month gave him the exterior habit
in the great chapel of Convento de
San Francisco in public community of
religious and Brothers of that
In the following night
of his arrival to the Tercera Orden, gathered with other
Hermanos Terciarios [Tertiary Brothers] in El Calvario to carry out their devout
exercises, a Crucified Christ's image was sweating. When the
Brothers there gathered wanted to call a Notary to certify the
fact, Hermano Pedro begged them not to do it, "because the
sweat of that Holy Christ was caused by the blames and sins of Hermano Pedro”. That image was the same one that a Tertiary
Brother had pointed out when he advised to Hermano Pedro to
leave the school and move to El Calvario.
In that place, Hermano
Pedro lived the decisive stage of his life because he
discovered the true reason by which God had brought him to Guatemala. In addition, he recovered his happiness and
apostolic devotion. Dedicated to the prayers and mortification
during many hours of the day and of the night, he alternated
also other hours in works of charity for the whole city
dressed with rough sackcloth and an interior tunic of hemp
belted to his body with ropes.
When entered to Tercera Orden, Hermano Pedro was annotating the teachings that
received, and began to practice them, since they were not
otherwise than the essence of the Gospel and the heart of the
Rule of that Order. To keep up his observance, he realized
continuous exercises of piety, mortification and charity.
With the presence and
animation of Hermano Pedro, El Calvario became a center
of spirituality and popular devotion, especially toward
During four years Hermano Pedro was responsible for El Calvario, in which he
received children and met with many people to pray and do
penance. When he took charge of the garden of that Hermitage,
on March 19, 1657, sowed an Esquisúchil tree, which at present
is a leafy tree that even continues flowery, and it is known
as Árbol del Hermano Pedro [Hermano Pedro's
The faithful believers attribute to the flowers of this
curative property and even miraculous.
Árbol del Hermano Pedro'
Iglesia de San Pedro y
Obras Sociales del Santo Hermano Pedro
Pedro Church and
Santo Hermano Pedro Social Works]
Calle Oriente, Número 20]
City Council of La Antigua Guatemala granted to Asociación Obras Sociales
Hermano Pedro, for 40 years, the building of the
former Hospital Nacional de
La Antigua Guatemala that was
abandoned by having been destroyed
from the earthquake happened in 1976.
Since then, it has been
Obras Sociales del
Santo Hermano Pedro is a
non-government or lucrative institution, of service and
projection in the community of catholic inspiration and with
legal authorization since October 5, 1988. Fray Guillermo
Bonilla Carvajal and many other people desirous to imitate the
principles of love and charity established by Hermano Pedro,
as the living spirit of his work, promoted them, in 1980. They
are under the care of the Franciscan Order and directed by Fray Giuseppe Contrán.
Supported partly by the Government of
Guatemala, and partly with donations from all over the
world, the hospital is the home of approximately 220 to 250
patients with physical and mental impediments.
Obras Sociales del
Santo Hermano Pedro intends as Vision: "To be a religious and
humanist institution that expands the charity and solidarity
by the example of Hermano Pedro, offering integral attention
to improve the life and the person’s dignity, with emphasis on
the poorest, without taking consideration their religion, race
and condition.” In addition, it intends as Mission: "To provide
with love and charity attention of high quality to the
population of scarce resources, and to the external, internal,
surgical and chronic patients, with basic, preventive and
specialized services of health; shelter, alimentation, and
clothes; integral, moral and spiritual education, in
coordination with volunteers and nationals and foreigners
The basis for Christian social philosophy is brotherly love
and support, from human sensitivity
providing assistance to everyone who needs and requires it.
This institution works bringing the nourishment of Faith, Hope
and Charity to the malnourished children, youths with
paralysis and disabled or blind elderly patients and to anyone
who seeks relief and healing of the body and soul.
Jesus Christ inspires with compassion within all hearts and
solidarity towards those most needy and invites everyone to
develop the mercy towards our neighbor.
In spite of limited resources, personal and global
difficulties, God in His Divine Providence has allowed to help
thousands of people and to have provided medical attention
over many years.
Iglesia de San
Obras Sociales del
Santo Hermano Pedro, is the place where patients, people of Social Works,
donors or benefactors, medical groups and parishioners are
close to God through prayer and reflection.
Daily, the knowledge of the God's word is offered and shared,
as well as providing the sacraments that help the health and
strengthening of the human spirit.
realize this pilgrim trail in the city to which a
man wanted to change for God. In this city,
Hermano Pedro lived and taught to live through the
charity and spiritual virtues; and here he remains
with us... forever.
Itinerario de un peregrino en una "Ciudad Mística", La
(Ediciones Provincia Franciscana "Nuestra Señora de
Guadalupe" de Centro América y Panamá):
Fray Damián Cosimo Muratori, o.f.m.; Fray Edwin Alvarado
Segura, o.f.m.; y Williams Mazariegos Lima.
Santo Hermano Pedro de San José Betancur:
Fray Edwin Alvarado Segura, o.f.m; y Williams Mazariegos
Asociación Obras Sociales del Santo Hermano Pedro.
Ediciones San Francisco.
Construyendo Historia y Abriendo
Hermanas Bethlemitas, Posada Belén.
Fotografías y recopilación de textos: CCN
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