Many people who know Ibiza, will instantly recognise one of its best known landmarks, the powerful rocky outcrop of Es Vedra, off the south west coast of the Island. It has an interesting history, as its iconic image was used in the film South Pacific and on the cover of Mike Oldfield’s Voyager Album. For the Islanders of Ibiza, it is best known as a home of solitude, to a famous Carmelite Priest, called Fancisco Palau . He arrived on the Island of Ibiza in 1854, having been sent there, in exile from Barcelona, by the government of the day, who found his socialist ideology at his School Of Virtues, interfered with local politics. The man behind the priest was quiet remarkable for his time, an individual of great intelligence, drive, passion and ambition. Ibiza always seems to attract people that are different and do not fit into conventional boxes and Francisco Palau was the first mystical person to leave a mark on the Island and its people. The uncultivated land he was given in Ibiza he transformed into a lush garden and orchard. Sensitive to artistic beauty, Ibiza inspired the priest spiritually and he wrote of the Island “I opened the windows, and from my telescope, I contemplated all the beauties of winter, spring, summer, and fall.”
He built a church at Es Cubelles overlooking Es Vedra at Cala D’Hort and dedicated it to, Virgin Del Carmen, a Carmelite version of the Virgin Mary. To this day, local fishermen in Ibiza, pray to Virgin Del Carmen, as a protector on the seas and refer to her as, Stella Maris, Star of the Sea. There is also a Hotel Chain on the Island named Stella Maris. Francisco spent many days and nights as a hermit on the Island of Es Vedra, which is a fairly inhospitable place, only goats have the tenacity and fortitude to exist there. While on the Island, Fr Francesco, claims to have witnessed a number of intense and powerful visions, one of which instructed him to build a small chapel at, Es Cubelles, which he opened in 1864. Another inspired him to write a theological book entitled Mis Relaciones Con la Iglesia which posed theological questions about the Catholic Church and God.
As well as establishing many Christian organisations, Hospitals, Schools and Missionaries, the remarkable Francesco Palau, was a well know Exorcist, an authority in the field of the unique Catholic Ritual. He contributed to section thirteen of the Roman Ritual, the official instruction manual, used by Catholic Priests at Exorcisms. By all accounts, one would agree that Fr Francisco was a special individual, a great man that made a connection with Ibiza and its powerful energy. It inspired him to do great acts of humanity helping others less fortunate than himself. He died at the age of 60, on March 20th, 1872. His feast day is celebrated on November 7th each year. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1980. A large metal cross stands on Es Vedra today (erected in 1959 by Fr Morey), to remember the mystical man and his time spent on the powerful rock in the waters of Ibiza.