4 Reasons to visit the Monastery of Santa Catalina

Monasterio de Santa Catalina 1

Do you want to know how life in the city of Arequipa was during viceroyalty time?  The Monastery of Santa Catalina illustrates an important aspect of this society.

# 1 Historical

Monasterio de Santa Catalina 3The Monastery of Santa Catalina was founded in 1579. It is made in sillar, a white volcanic stone, and constitutes the most important exponent of the colonial architecture Arequipa.

The continuous earthquakes motivated changes in its structure, turning it to a citadel of special features, where the sisters would build cells and have a cloistered life, isolating themselves from the city and from their families.

Behind the high and thick walls of sillar it is preserved the designs and architectural forms that constitute an excellent sample of the fusion of Spanish and native elements.

# 2 Cultural

The history tells that in that time, it was well seen by the Arequipeñan society, that a daughter lived in the monastery, therefore the 2nd daughter of the most wealthy families were sent there. They would spend some years as novices, and then they had to decide whether they would go back to the real world or if they would stay forever in the Monastery.

Once the nun decided to stay in the Monastery, her family would build her a house within the complex. This house would have her room; a kitchen, etc. even it would have room for her service personnel. Normally, in each house lived only one nun, although you can find some houses with more than one bedroom.

The maids would live with the nuns, but unlike them they could go out of the monastery on weekends.

Monasterio de Santa Catalina 2The family gave a dowry to the monastery for the maintenance of their daughter, but as this dowry was made only once, the nuns had to work to be able to justify their costs. These jobs consisted in making desserts, communion wafers or embroidery for sale. But they didn’t need much, since the life within the monastery was quite austere.

# 3 Religious

In the monastery lived Sor Ana de los Angeles Monteagudo, a religious that she was prioress of the convent and that died in 1686. In 1985, she was beatified by Pope John Paul II. Many predictions have been attributed to her and she is currently subject of popular worship. Inside the Monastery can be found her room and the utensils and implements that she used. They are still waiting for a miracle to make it Saint.

# 4 Artistic

It has been found in the monastery a great collection of paintings of predominant religious motive, exponents of the viceroyalty culture of Peru.

You can appreciate an important collection of religious art of the continent, in addition to numerous paintings from the Cusco School of painting, the highest expression of the fusion of the Inca culture and the spanish.

Address: Calle Santa Catalina 301 – Arequipa

Entrance fee: S/ 35

I hope you liked the post, and that you enjoy your stay in Arequipa – if you have any questions, let me a comment below.

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