Iglesia de San Francisco de Paula (Saint Francis of Paula Church)

Paula ChurchOn the same spot where the Ermita del Calvario was first located, the Women´s Hospital of Saint Francis of Paula was built about 1667, as the last will of the priest Nicolás Estévez Borges, who donated all his possessions to the construction. Besides the hospital a church was also built.

The devotion for Saint Francis of Paula, founder of the mendicant order of the same name, must have appeared in 1602 when the city was ravaged by an epidemic that only ceased, allegedly, when the saint was asked to intervene.

Paula ChurchIn 1730 the city was beaten by a terrible hurricane that destroyed the original church. The next year the construction of a new temple began. It had only one vaulted nave with a main domed chapel and lanterns. In 1745 the Bishop Lazo de la Vega placed on the main façade three sculptures of Saint Francis of Paula, Saint Peter and Saint Paul on vaulted niches carved into the stone itself. The nursery and other rooms were also restored.

The architectural style of this church is that of a pre-churrigueresque baroque. The apse, the short transepts and the dome are, in its heaviness, a symbol of the character of the colonial builders.

In 1907, after the hospital and the church had been closed down for a long time, the building was sold to a dock company so that the institution could be moved to another area. Both the hospital and the church were neglected. Its spaces were used as storerooms and the hospital was destroyed. Despite the destruction, the church could be saved. It was restored in 1946.

Address: Leonor Pérez y Desamparados