We rushed into the Cisne Cathedral in southern Ecuador just in time to join the swirling mob being sprinkled with holy water by a robed priest. How cool, I thought as I turned to examine the rest of the cathedral, I just had my first Catholic blessing. For me the trip to visit La Virgen del Cisne was another touristic side trip from Loja, something beautiful and historic to see on my adventure through Ecuador. But for many this cathedral is a place of desperation and hope. Twice a year the 45 km road between Loja and Cisne is congested with the devoted following the carried virgin statue from one cathedral to another. The rest of the year individuals make their own pilgrimages to Cisne to humble themselves under the ornate alter, kneeling before their God and asking for miracles.
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