I have visited the Saint Francis Monastery in Lima, Peru three different times. This place has left such an impression on me, even years later. The church and convent were completed in 1774. The church itself is Spanish Baroque style. The main altar (shown below) is completely carved out of wood and layered with gold leaf.
The convent is gorgeous, decorated with massive fresco paintings and beautiful landscaping.
The library was mostly roped off due to the age of books on display. It reminded me of the library on Beauty and the Beast; it was completely packed from floor to ceiling, had multiple floors, and smelled as you would expect.
The reason most people visit though, is to see the catacombs. It seems like there are endless halls and tunnels underground filled with thousands of bones. After a while, I became phased by how many bones there were. It seemed overwhelming that they were all real. The coolest part was a large well in the catacombs, that when you looked down, was filled with skulls and bones in a geometric patter (shown below).
Our tour guide was a nun who worked for the museum. She shared stories of why people had to be buried there, and how in a lot of cases, the families of these people will never really know where exactly their remains are.
My Catholic faith has a way of penetrating every aspect of my life. When it comes to travel, my favorite part is getting to go to mass in cathedrals that are older than my family’s existence in the United States. Lima is dripping with Catholic history, which made it so special for me.