More visitors than usual expected for traditional mass

Persistent drought: Mallorca asks St Scholastica for rain

Palma - When it doesn't rain enough on Mallorca, the only thing that helps is to invoke higher powers – at least that's what the people of Santanyi say. After all, a saint is said to have the "key to the springs of heaven".

Published  on 11.02.2024 at 10:45  – 

There has been a water shortage in parts of Mallorca for weeks because it is not raining enough. So the custom of invoking Scholastica this Sunday is just right: in the pilgrimage church Santuari de la Consolacio in Santanyi in the south-east of the island, the saint is asked for the "gift of rain", as the "Mallorca-Zeitung" reports. After all, the statue of the sister of St Benedict of Nursia venerated there is said to possess the "keys to the springs of heaven".

The mass, which always takes place on the Sunday around the feast of St Scholastica (around 480-542) on 10 February, is an age-old tradition, said parish priest Bartomeu Villalonga. However, this year the number of expected participants could be even higher than usual due to the widespread drought on Mallorca - also a sign of climate change: "People are more aware than ever that something strange is happening with the weather."

Hope that prayers will be answered - as in 2023

Santanyi is literally located in the driest area of the island: "A Santanyi poca aigua i gens de vi" ("Little water and no wine in Santanyi"), quoted the priest. "For this reason, our ancestors who built the sanctuary dedicated a chapel to St Scholastica and felt the need to invoke her to fill the cisterns."

Once again, the faithful hoped that the prayers would have the expected effect - "just like in 2023", Villalonga recalls: two weeks after the mass in the pilgrimage church, storm Juliette hit, leaving a thick blanket of snow in many parts of the island, including Santanyi. Rain is also forecast for this weekend, albeit only light.

And if Scholastica doesn't help, the inhabitants of Santanyi will turn to the next heavenly authority, as they did in 1914, according to their parish priest: "The drought was so bad that they made a pilgrimage to the shrine of Lluc to ask the Virgin Mary for rain." (KNA)