The Pilgrimage of Nuestra Señora de Aguas Santas in Villaverde del Río (Seville), commonly known as the “convent” pilgrimage, is one of the two oldest in Andalusia since it has taken place for nearly eight centuries (1247).
The Pilgrimage commemorates the miraculous appearance of the Virgin Mary to the shepherd Juan Bueno. Although the exact date is unknown, it had been historically celebrated on Pentecost Sunday, so that the coming of the Holy Spirit coincides with the appearance of the Virgin Mary. Today, it is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of May, unless it coincides with Pentecost Sunday (when the Pilgrimage of El Rocío takes place). In which case, the festivity is moved to the following Sunday.
The Pilgrimage begins when a silver cart carrying the Simpecado (2008) leaves the town on its way to the Shrine surrounded by the faithful. The original Simpecado was from the early eighteenth century. Once at the Shrine, a “Convent Mass” is celebrated at noon, followed by lively singing and dancing while food and drinks are prepared. At eight o’clock in the evening, the Simpecado begins its journey back to the town on the cart. There is more singing and dancing in front of the Simpecado after the Rosary is prayed. Before reaching the village, the cart is diverted to the church in Cerro Molino, embellished for the occasion, where all the horse riders pay their respects to the image of the Virgin Mary.