Franciscan Santa Clara Church and Monastery - straight up from Carmen Alto on Rocafuerte y Cuenca - commands the corner.
The ancient monastery asserts 400 years in existence, and the church, recently remodeled, encases its magnificent art.
In 1650, 78 nuns, 30 postulants and 20 novices called this their home along with several little girls.
The little girls, offered to the Lord by the parents as in scripture, took residence here for training as future nuns. One identified as Francisca de San Benaventura y la Cruz - daughter of the foundress who bought the place to donate to the nuns.
Francisca never knew anything of the world to disturb her devotion and vocation. Her outstanding virtues radiated from her as a result of her penances... a role model of excellence.
When illness attacked her, she patiently and graciously awaited death for more than nine months - like a rebirth.
One day, after an apparition of the Virgin Mary, and later the holy cross, she happily described to the nuns how she saw the Virgin. Raising her eyes, she declared repeatedly in jubilant insistence, "Don't you see this mercy God grants me?" to the nuns present who were trying to console her. Then she died.
One morning in January 1649, the religious noticed a hole in the wall of the provincial chapel and the sacred hosts gone. Later, priests discovered them scattered in front of a lean-to of the convent.
Gathering them up with the greatest of care, they returned them to the high altar tabernacle. A procession ensued on the 29th, and from January 30 until April 4, Holy Saturday, the whole city of Quito mourned. Every noon the church bells tolled.
Easter Sunday, the people pleaded with the Lord to reveal the culprits, and they started a novena. At 7:00 PM, they marched in procession with the esteemed statue from the sanctuary of Santa Clara.
Wednesday of Easter week, a pontifical Mass offering ascended to the heavens. As the novena ended, the malefactors emerged with their captors from between two villages that hid them.
The chapel of El Robo (The Theft) later constructed on the site remains to this day a somber reminder of the robbery.
Santa Clara Church and Monastery offer so much. Do stop by and see.
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