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Monestir de Santa Maria de Valldonzella

Carrer del Cister, 41 - 45
08022 Barcelona

Telèfon de contacte
93 417 03 84


Santa Maria de Valldonzella is a monastery of nuns of the Cistercian order. The Cistercians originate in the year 1098, as a branch of the Benedictines, at the monastery of Citeaux or Cister(Burgundy, France), with the aim of living according to the rule of Saint Bernard in all its purity. Soon, especially following the strong spiritual personality of Saint Bernard(1090-1153) -abbot of Claravall, mystic, enormously prestigious preacher and author of many works of spirituality and monastical theology- the Cistercians (named white monks) proliferated around Europe.

Valldonzella has been, throughout the centuries an itinerant community, as a seried of circumstances has made the nuns move several times from one place to another.

After preludes, dark as all beginnings, the community was established at Santa Creu d’Olorde (near Vallvidrera) on 4th November of the year 1237, from the donation made by the bishop of Barcelona to the Church of Santa Creu d’Olorde to a community of nuns that would follow the Rule of Saint Bernard. With the Cistercian community already formed in the year 1259 the wars of king Jaume I with the Catalan nobles forced the nuns to take refuge in Barcelona and , when they could no longer return to the monastery, the bishop Arnau of Gurb did not want them to live in an unpopulated area so that they could be more protected.
It was then that the new monastery was built near Creu Coberta outside the walls of the city thanks to the help of the faithful to whom the bishop granted indulgences if they helped the community. The situation of the monastery and the monastic observance of the community meant that in the XIV century the kings and the court, on entering or leaving Barcelona, would often stay at Valldonzella. In 1410 the king Martí l’Humà died in Valldonzella. In the XVII century the monastery was destroyed in the Catala Revolt (Guerra dels Segadors).
In the XVII century the nuns went to reside at the Priory of Nazareth, inside the city, near the door of Saint Anthony of the city wall. This monastery was burnt during the Tragic Week (La Setmana Tràgica) in 1909 and the nuns were charitably taken into the care of the family of Manuel Valls I Martí at the Torre dels Pardals, in la Sagrera.

After this event the abbess Esperança Roca I Roca, advised by the spiritual director of the community, the future bishop Torras I Bages, began the construction of the new monastery, the present one.

In 1913 the community was able to inhabit the new monastery even though it wasn’t finished and consecrated until 1922.

The present building is the work of the architect Bernardí Martorell I Puig in the most modern style of the era, nowadays called ‘Catalan Modernism’. It is a style with reminiscences of medieval art. It appears in the era of romanticism during the second half of the 19th century, having its main importance at the end of this century and at the start of the 20th century.

This is evident in many parts, especially in the church being supported, like the rest of the monastery on visible bricks giving the exterior a certain Mudejar air, as happens in some other manifestations dating from the modernism era, which applied a wide variety of resources.

The church is in general of gothic intention but imaginative (for example in the glass windows and the interesting ornamental supports of the arches of the transept.) and has a perfectly gothic structure and mechanism (clearly evident in the transept of the central aisle).

On the whole a great architectural and decorative work.


© 2013 Monestir de Valldonzella