Historical sketch of our monastery
Our Community belongs to the Order of the Immaculate Conception, we are known also as Franciscan Conceptionists.
The original monastery of the first community was founded in the house of the parents of the Venerable Sister Marie of Jesus On January 13, 1619, by Catalina Arana the mother of Sister Ma de Jesus, her sister Jerónima and herself, together with three religious ones who came fro the San Luis’ Convent of Burgos, as it is described in the section of the great familiar decision.
The monastery in which nowadays we live was started constructing when sister Marie of Jesus was nominated Abbess. Those who realized this foundation, the Fr. Fuenmayor declares., ” monks and nuns and seculars attributed to thing miracle that a poor barefooted religious person and so underprovided of human and economic means, there was tackling and concluding in few years a construction as big as a convent and a church” …
In the time that lasted the work that was only seven years, and in which not few prodigies took place, “There were getting together some days to work all those of the village, from the most delicate Lady up to the noblest elder; and all came assiduously from children, women and old men…. It was an opinion that two men with title of foremen who worked all along construction with very much eagerness, disinterestedness and silence, were angels, because without receiving their pays they disappeared without more expense than the little that they ate.”
Finished this wonderful work, it was fixed the day of July 10, 1633 for the transferring of the nuns. “The Village wished to make great demonstration of celebration and rejoicings in this transferring”…
They dispatched to the places of the land and villages of Ólvega and Matalebreras, with order of the Bishop and Mayor, in order that they were coming with crosses and pennants in procession, and two axes of each place and dances. Also it was announced that all the offices were going out with the major inventions of celebration than they could. And that there were taking out all the saints from the confraternities that usually leave in procession; and that Village goes with its mace beares, with clothes of Damascus and caps, and that there were given white candles to all.
Thursday on July 7, the bones of the deceased nuns were removed from the old convent and took to the new one, that there were three, among them the Vicarious Mother Sister Catherine of the Holiest Sacramento, mother of the Abbess Sor Maria de Jesus; and the body of Father Friar Francisco Colonel, father of the same one.
Saturday to 9 of July, Fr. Francisco Andrés de la Torre blessed the new Church. That Saturday day came Mr. D. Balthazar Navarro de Arroyta, Bishop of Tarazona… That night there were bonfires in all the houses, and lights; and in the one of Village there were chirimías and much music…
Sunday at 7 a.m. they began to come (to the old convent) all the places from land in procession, and at half after eight already they had finished arriving from all the places. At 9 a.m. they went out from the house of the village. The procession was going out, ahead the boxes and Swiss company of the office of the Pelairía, all the land pennants, the crosses of the places and then those of this village; friars of San Francisco and San Austin, chaplains and beneficiaries and behind the crosses the saints of the confraternities in their pedestals . In the middle of this procession the nuns of two in two were going, with their golden white candles, and written their names in each one, beginning by the younger ones.
It was done the procession by the street of the Gentleman, Door of Almazán to the Castejón, and by the Almudí to the square, and by the Corral of the Bulls to San Jerónimo, Houses of Diego de Castejón, and by the Wide Door of San Miguel entered by the Mercadal to the new convent; the nuns were entering in their house, and the others in the Church, and the crosses and pennants and saints in San Julian, because they did not fit in the Church.
The Village had its seats to two choirs next to the gospel, and the town hall and monks next to the epistle. Mr. Bishop began the mass; there were great music of Tarazona and organs. Finished the mass the Village went back to their houses of the City council, with the company of soldiers, boxes and chirimías and each one went to their.
Generations of sisters have maintained in this monastery alive the Conceptionist charisma of the Order, that Venerable Madre Ágreda lived in fullness, not without historical difficulties and pains, as the one that happened during the French Invasion in Spain.
On November 24, 1808, French troops plundered the houses, the four convents that at the time existed in Ágreda, two of monks, the one of the Franciscan Fathers and the one of the Agustin’s Fathers, and other two of nuns, one of the Augustine’s Mothers and this one of Conceptionists, stealing all kinds of clothes and sacred glasses, gold, silver, and other possessions of big value.
Before the threats of death to religious and religious that of the same Frenchmen had been heard, the night of the 24th, the sisters opportunely decided to go out of the convent in community in the first hours of the 25th. With the hope put in God and in the protection of their Venerable Mother, they went to the nearby village of The Aldehuela, where they remained some days.
Having entered the French in this convent, they broke all its doors, they fractured the arks and they profaned the sacred images, and took numerous objects, also they profaned the tomb of Venerable Mother Ágreda, they broke violently the arks that were enclosing her body, leaving this one, thanks to God, without any affront, in the same form in which they had found it.
Scarcely the Frenchmen went out of the convent, the Fr. Manuel Baños, Guardian of San Julián (who had remained hidden in the village), accompanied by the Major of the Village, the syndic Attorney and other persons entered to the convent to inspect what had happened, having seen all the locks broken and the urns opened, but the Venerable body without detriment or known alteration, resolved to fix in the moment the door of the sepulcher and to close properly all those of the closing, the religious ones returned few days later.
Saved the historical vicissitudes with the God’s grace, the protection of the Immaculate Virgin Mary and the intersection of the Venerable Mother Ágreda, this monastery has been maintained by generations of sisters in good conditions, in its material foundations as well as the contemplative spiritual life, being fulfilled last July 10, 2008, 375 years of community life in it.
The Lord calls and distributes his gifts for good of the Church and of the humanity. Nowadays the community is formed by 11 professed solemn sisters and two novices, that following the fingerprints of Saint Beatriz de Silva, founder of our Order and of the Sister Marie of Jesus, we live through the Franciscan Conceptionist charisma, holding Maria Immaculate as Mother and Teacher of our community.