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Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Annual Miracle of La Servita

Facade of the Santa Catalina Convent in La Laguna. Photo by Koppchen

Once again, on 15th February, the doors of the Santa Catalina convent in La Laguna will be opened (usually from 5am) for the faithful and the curious to queue around the block (~ 15,000 visit every year) for the chance to view the incorrupted body of Sor María de Jesús (Sister Mary of Jesus de León y Delgado) (1643 - 1731), popularly known as La Siervita.

De León died on 15th February 1731; Three years later her body was exhumed and was found incorrupt, whole and flexible. Still preserved in the convent, every 15th February (the anniversary of her death), her body is placed on public display in a luxurious glass-covered coffin, which was donated by by La Laguna born pirate, Amaro Pargo, her friend in life and benefactor of the convent, who was present at her exhumation in January 1734 and her remains found to be intact, with wet clothes, flexible and a natural colour, it was said.

María de León Bello y Delgado was born in El Sauzal on March 23rd, 1643 and entered the convent in February of 1668. She spent a year as a novice, then took up the habit full-time for the rest of her life. Contemporary texts apparently claim that shortly before she died, she "fell into ecstasy", while retaining a pulse for more than 24 hours.

However, we learn that the body is located ten meters away from where viewers are able to pass and the lighting isn't too good. And despite numerous claims, there are no scientifically verified cases of genuine incorruptibility. But as this post points out, "to be able to spend almost 300 years right next door to La Laguna town hall and still remain "uncorrupted" is a worthy miracle." :)

The Miraculous Sister María de Jesús

Convento de Santa Catalina de Siena
Calle Dean Palahi, 1, 38201 San Cristóbal de La Laguna, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain

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