One of the oldest and renowned university cities in the world, having been a seat of learning since the 13th Century, Coimbra is a beautiful city of rich history and stunning architecture.

Coimbra is located 40 miles north of Fatima and our day-trip to this city includes visits to three important sites. The first is the Carmelite Convent where Lúcia Santos, the last surviving visionary of Fatima lived from 1948 until her death in 2005 at 97 years of age. From her cell in this convent Lucia wrote several books on Our Lady and her memories of the apparitions and the other children including the apparitions of the angels. Already miracle cures have taken place through her intercession speeding up her cause for beatification and canonization. Depending on itinerary, groups may have the opportunity to attend the celebration of Mass in the convent church.

The second place of interest is the convent of Santa Clara-a-Nova built between 1649 and 1696. The stunning convent church is dedicated to Saint Isabel, wife of King Dennis and patron saint of Coimbra. This noble saint known throughout Portugal as the ‘Peacemaker’ died in her 65th year in 1336. Shortly after the death of her husband she joined the Poor Clare’s Convent which she had founded in Coimbra. Here she was buried in the orders habit but due to flooding, her remains were transferred to the current location in 1614 and enshrined above the high alter in a silver reliquary. Many Miracles followed the Queens death and she was canonized by Urban VIII in 1625. Her feast is kept on 8 July. Today pilgrims can admire the beautiful renaissance church which overlooks the city.

A day excursion to the city will also include a visit to the Augustinian Monastery of Santa Cruz. It is here where St Anthony came to study when he left Lisbon at the age of 17. The monastery was renowned for its biblical scholarship and the young Anthony would spend nine years studying here. When he was 25 years old he was inspired by the martyrdom of the first Franciscan Friars whose bodies were brought back from Morocco to Coimbra. Soon after, with the reluctant permission of his Augustinian superior he joined the Franciscan Friars taking the name “Anthony” after the patron of the friary at Coimbra called St Anthony of the Olives. A visit to the monastery is a popular scared place for devotees of Saint Anthony.

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