Santa Catalina de Siena Convent

Paso de la procesión del Corpus Cristhi frente a la Iglesia del Convento de Santa Catalina
Corpus cristhi procession

The first information about the convent of Santa Catalina in Siena dates back to the first half of the 16th century. In 1524 the Cabildo of Tenerife planned the foundation of a monastery of nuns on the land that the Adelantado and the Cabildo had assigned to the Dominican monks

However, it was not until 1611 that the project materialized thanks to the intervention of Juan de Cabrejas. He gave up the land for the construction of a convent of cloistered nuns. On April 23rd 1611 the convent of Santa Catalina de Siena was inaugurated after four Dominican nuns from Seville entered the cloister.

The convent, modest at first, reached its definitive physiognomy in the 17th century. At that time it came to possess some riches that placed it among the first on the island.

During the 19th century this building was not affected by the disentailment due to the large number of cloistered nuns, and has remained to this day to the same Order.

Its factory follows the scheme of the convent architecture of the time. Its Arab tiled roofs, high walls with shutters on the cells and, in particular, the belfry and the belvedere-shafts of clear Mudéjar tradition stand out in the city’s landscape.

The church, built around the same time, consists of a single nave, with a marble floor from a more contemporary period, and a wooden roof, in the style of Mudéjar roofs. The two access doors, made of carved wood, and framed by arches made of stone, stand out. In the Church of Santa Catalina de Siena we find the Servant of God, Sister Maria de Jesus Leon y Delgado. The captain of the ship D. Amaro Rodriguez Felipe (known colloquially as Amaro Pargo) asked for the exhumation of her body three years after her death (15th February 1731). Having been granted permission by the superiors of the Order of St. Dominic, he wanted it to rest in a wooden coffin commissioned by him, which was unusual as the nuns were buried in the land itself. From that moment on, the body of Sister Maria de Jesus rests in a sarcophagus given to her by the captain. The remains of the Servant are venerated in praise of holiness on February 15 every year, while her body has remained uncorrupted throughout the years. At present, the ecclesiastical authorities are managing the process of canonization.

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