The Santa Catalina Convent

About 5 km East-Southeast of Cariñena sits the ruins of the Santa Catalina del Monte convent that was built in about 1425. This Franciscan convent played an important role in the area for the church as well as the local population due to its extensive library and the hospice it supported in town. During the Spanish War of Independence, the convent was abandoned and then destroyed by the French in 1808.

Map of Cariñena showing the convent to the east

The convent is important to our family because there are many references to family members having been buried there, although exactly where at the convent remains unclear, but perhaps in the floor of the chapel on the site. An example entry appears below:

En 2 de Nobiembre de 1694 murio Maria Polo Recibio los sacramentos de penitenaria ….se enterro en Sta Catalina del monte hija de familia

Here’s Sean checking out the ruins during our trip:

Sean at Santa Catalina Del Monte

The vineyards approach the convent from all directions and there’s this feeling that everyone has forgotten about the place. There are no signs, no fences, no headstones, and it is unclear exactly how the facility was laid out. Additional research is on my to-do list, especially investigating the rumor that a tunnel runs from the convent to the parish church in Cariñena!

Recently, a friend flew his drone over the ruins and sent it to me:

If you have trouble playing the video go here: https://youtu.be/nBjp-bfvBS4

Your trip to Cariñena should include a stop at the convent – it’s quite a feeling to be standing there, seeing Cariñena in the distance.