Contemplata aliis Tradere

A meagre contribution to the mission and work of the Order of Preachers: my reflections, thoughts, ideas and the occasional rant on matters mainly theological, philosophical and ecclesiastical, drawn primarily from my reading and experience of life and the world. Striving to be always Catholic, firmly Christian and essentially Dominican, flavoured with dashes of Von Balthasar.

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Location: Oxford, United Kingdom

A son of the English Province of the Order of Friars Preachers (Dominicans); born in Malaysia but have lived in the USA, Singapore, the UK & the Philippines for varying durations. A pilgrim and way-farer, a searcher for Truth on the journey of Life... "Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine, There’s always laughter and good red wine. At least I’ve always found it so. Benedicamus Domino!" - Hilaire Belloc

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Dominican Nuns in Salamanca

The Convent of Las Dueñas stands across the 'Plaza of the Council of Trent' from the Dominican Priory of San Esteban in Salamanca. Since 1419, Dominican nuns (above, in a painting from this convent) have lived on this site opposite the friars. The photo below shows the facade of their convent, as seen from San Esteban:

On our third day in Salamanca we decided to visit the cloister of the nuns' convent which is open to the general public and reputed to be the finest cloister in Salamanca. This cloister, begun in 1533, is a jewel of the Spanish Renaissance architectural style and has a rather unusual pentagonal shape. In this photos below, taken from the upper gallery, you can just about make out the bends in the cloister and also the Moorish archway (now bricked up) in the lower cloister that is a feature from a previous building on the site:

From the cloister, one also has a stunning view of the East end of Salamanca Cathedral (below), which rises above the city like a vision of the heavenly Jerusalem:

The peace and beauty of these cloisters made me think of the Dominican nuns of MonialesOP and I knew they would appreciate such a place of stillness and contemplation!

The capitals on the columns of the cloister were very imaginatively carved and each one had the most extraordinary features and seemed to come from a medieval Bestiary:

I was moved and surprised to discover that in this convent there lived a Dominican nun (below) who was originally an African princess who had been captured and shipped to Spain as a slave (!) where she later earned her freedom, joined this convent and is now a Dominican beatus... Truly where sin abounds, grace abounds still more! And walking in the tranquility of these cloisters, it seemed to me that this was a grace-filled place.

We thank God for all our Dominican nuns around the world and for their witness of contemplative prayer and spiritual joy. May they continue to be preachers of the truth of Jesus Christ and the fullness of life, happiness and peace that may be found in Him alone.

Still to come: Salamanca Cathedrals, the House of Shells and the Dominican Shrine of Our Lady of La Peña.


Blogger Moniales said...

Thank you so much for this! What a wonderful painting of Ven. Teresa. We are praying for her beatification.

Those cloisters are beautiful! I wish we had them!

10:14 pm  
Blogger mamagiglio said...

Who is Venerable Teresa? Where can I find some information on her? You don't often see black saints and beati pictured and I kow some of my students would be heartened to know that there are saints and Church-recognized holy people who look like them.

1:57 am  
Blogger Moniales said...

There isn't too much on her, unfortunately. There was a booklet about her somewhere around the house but I can't find it. The 2001 General Chapter did highlight her cause for the request of the nuns. I myself would love to work on a magazine article or booklet on her. Maybe Bro. Lew has more info (in English?) from the monastery?
Here is a quick link:

2:45 pm  
Blogger Br Lawrence, O.P. said...

There was a small exhibit to Ven Teresa in the convent including some of the artefacts she used and had in the convent. However, the details of her life are pretty much what I have already said, from the little Spanish we understood!

We bought some holy pictures etc but I don't think we bought the booklet. I may have to ask my novice master if we have any thing more...

3:08 pm  

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