This tiny landmark, located on the side of the Church of Santa Maria del Pi in the middle of Barcelona’s dense Gothic Quarter, marks a seemingly trivial event.
On April 6, 1806, priest José Mestres fell off a walkway on the outside of the church’s apse. He rose unscathed from the experience, and attributed the event to Joseph Oriol, a Catalan priest at del Pi whose remains are interred inside the church.
Oriol was renowned for his healing miracles in 17th century Barcelona. He was said to have cured the deaf, blind, mute, and otherwise disabled people who came to him. But despite his accomplishments in life, sainthood can only be bestowed upon someone after their death. As a result of this little posthumous miracle, Oriol was canonized by the pope in September of the same year. A small plaque was installed on the corner of the church to commemorate Padre Mestres’ blessed fall.