Plaza of the Religious Procession- The Legend of La Rogativa
When you visit San Juan, one of the delightful cities in Puerto Rico, take the time to visit the historical site of Plazuela de la Rogativa. Also know as the Plaza of the Religious Procession, this is where you will see four gleaming bronze statues of a bishop and three women in a procession. This is something all tourists visiting the area should have on their itinerary as one of the top ten things to do while in San Juan.
Apart from the actual statues there is not much else to see in terms of physical structures but you will be spoilt with a beautiful view of the surrounding areas and the San Juan Bay. So this is the perfect place to take a moment to stop, appreciate the surrounding attractions and rest your weary feet if you have taken upon yourself to walk around and tour the city.
These statues are meant to honor the legend of San Juan, which goes as far back as 1797 and tells of time when a miracle occurred saving San Juan from a certain attack. Lindsay Daen who was born in Dunedin in New Zealand in 1923 sculptured these four bronze statues that overlook the old city’s walls in 1971 to commemorate San Juan’s 450th year anniversary.
The legend starts off with the British wanting to attack the city of San Juan. The British fleet was anchored in the San Juan Bay just outside the city walls in an attempt to starve the native people of provisions. They knew that by blocking the entrance into the bay needed supplies would not be able to come in and this would cause havoc amongst the local people. At that point the governor of the city was at a loss as to what to do and so ordered a “rogativa” or religious procession to try and get the saints to assist them.
They locals knew that the Spanish reinforcements inland might take ages to come and that there would be an invasion of the city if something was not done. So the bishop and his congregation took it upon themselves to march through the city in an attempt to get the saints to help them. While they marched through the city they sang hymns and carried torches in their attempt to invoke help against the potential attack.
This procession of unarmed men and women was more effective then they had ever hoped it would be. On seeing the torches of the procession the British fleet came under the impression that the reinforcements had unexpectedly arrived early. The march scared off the potential invaders who left immediately abandoning their siege.