Hermano Pedro (Brother Peter), Tenerife’s own saint was born in 1626 (Vilaflor) and spent his young life as a Shepherd looking after the goats. His journey through life was extraordinary and back in them days, very brave. From herding the goats and walking the distance from Vilaflor to the caves near El Medano, Hermano Pedro went on to travel to Guatemala with not a penny to his name.
For 2 years, he travelled and eventually found himself arriving in Guatemala, hospitalise. penniless and destitute. This experience would shape his life in years to come as he went on to be one of the most respected saints who provided hospitals and schools for the poor.
Close to Tenerife Sur Airport and El Medano, the caves are available for visitors to enter, free of charge. It is estimated that over 300,000 visitors from around the world pay their respects to this cave on an annual basis.
The white entrance to the cave is surrounded by flowers and a large wooden crafted door. It is quite strange seeing a few doorways leading into a cave but quite surprising when entering the room.
Behind the first door (pictured above) is a small room with some chairs at either side. Immediately on entering this room, the statue of Hermano Pedro takes its position amongst the well-kept plants and flowers that surround him.
Quiet, still and peaceful, this room offered a solitude atmosphere for visitors to take their time to pay respect, pray or reflect on life.
I loved this room as it was really pretty, very well maintained and extremely clean.
Leaflets and information are dotted around, along with a small collection box for donations. No pressure on tourists to contribute money and no encouraging religion as it is totally up to the visitors to enter free of their own choice. The leaflets supply visitors with useful information about other masses and important dates to remember or to join in the celebrations.
Coming out of this room to the outside space, the sun was at its best and beating down on me. Wow! it was a hot day again.
I went into the next room which was a lot larger. I was overwhelmed by the masses of pictures, ornaments, candles and rosemary beads which people had brought to the cave in honour of this man.
Again, the stillness of the room was really apparent and you could hear a pin drop. I still felt at ease but at the time of my visit, I thought that it would be nice to have some gentle music in the background to take the stillness away.
What I did notice, hidden in the cracks of the rocks of the cave were pieces of paper. Hundreds of small handwritten notes which had been put there over the years by people. Messages to those in need of a prayer or help. This must offer some healing support to loved ones who continue to have faith in this humble saint of Tenerife.
To me, the private messages or prayers were a lovely thought but felt a little eerie. I think this was just my personal feeling but it was a lot more magnified when I saw, even more notes of messages in the ceiling or roof of the cave. There were so many and my local friend confirmed that the messages are stored in the walls and ceiling as the goats used to come into the caves and eat the paper.
All in all, though it was a lovely place to visit for some historical value for this wonderful saint who was simply a phenomenal man who helped the poor and saved many lives.
So if you are looking for somewhere to visit for an hour or so, call along to the cave of Hermano Pedro and see it for yourself. It does get really hot so please remember to protect your skin and take some water as there are no surrounding shops nearby until you get to El Medino.
All I would ask is to help support this wonderful memory of the saint and make a donation if possible in the box provided. Every little helps to keep this cave a tourist attraction and a great topic for your children’s history project.
Thank you for reading and I hope that you enjoyed this blog post. Please feel free to leave any comments in the box below.
The photographs are my own work and copyright law applies
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