The church’s name is Beata Mercedes de Jesus Molina, but is best known as Samanes Church or Pope’s Cross Church. It was inaugurated on January 31, 1985, through a Religious Service given by Pope John Paul II, who presided the beatification ceremony of missionary from Guayaquil, Mercedes de Jesus Molina y Ayala, founder of the Marianitas Religious Congregation. The mass in honor of “The Rose of Guayas”, as the Blessed was known, was celebrated at the temple of Samanes Citadel, which was built specially for the occasion, and 400.000 parishioners attended the service. The place has a cross that was named as “Papal Cross” for the visit of the Supreme Pontiff to the church.
The Blessed was born in Baba, Los Rios Province in 1928 and died on June 12, 1883; she was an example of virtue since she renounced to her wealth to dedicate her life to God and to the persons who needed spiritual guidance.
The place was not intended to serve as a parish church, but it became one thanks to the support of the parishioners and of priest Eduardo Tutiven Cardenas, one of the promoters of the construction of the temple to serve as venue for the Pope’s visit.
On May 9, 2013, the church was inaugurated with a capacity for 600 people. The work, which started on May, 2012, was carried out by the Municipality of Guayaquil during the administration of Jaime Nebot Saadi, whose fund-raising were used for the Main Altar, the baptistery, the sacristy, the stained glass widows, and other works.
The image of the Blessed Mercedes de Jesus Molina alongside two children that is placed at the entrance of the temple. The cross that characterized the church also stands out and can be appreciated from afar.