Event Category: Religous/Spiritual
Sunrise and Sunset
Las Monjas (Temple of the Immaculate Conception)
Beatrice was a Portuguese lady-in-waiting to the Queen in the 1400s. Having good looks that raised the jealousy of the Queen, Beatrice left courtly life to become a nun and was the founder of the monastic Order of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady.
Part of what made the order unique is it has no obvious purpose. Normally an order teaches, provides medicine, does missionary work, etc. This order was a great option for wealthy women whom, perhaps, didn’t like men. Or want to be a wife or mother. Or simply wanted to be well educated.
Here a gal could buy her own condo, bring along her staff and spend her days in whatever interested her, protected from the outside world.
A small cloister of this order still resides at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, often called Las Monjas (The Nuns). The local cloister was founded in 1754 by the teen aged Maria Josefa Lina de la Canal who was then the wealthiest bachelorette in San Miguel. She died at 34 having created a cloistered convent for over 70 nuns.Today’s handful of remaining nuns prepare a vast array of flowers on the altar for the day-long celebration on December 8th featuring food, fireworks, music and dancing around sunrise and again at sunset.
Most of the convent’s condos have since been converted into the Belle Artes cultural center next door.
The Immaculate Conception marks one of the most widely misunderstood concepts of Catholicism. The Immaculate Conception is when St. Ann became pregnant with the Mary. It is not when Mary became pregnant with Jesus. The easy way to remember this is that nine months following the Immaculate Conception the birth of Mary is celebrated in town on September 8th.
Since 1846 the Immaculate Conception is the patron of the United States and one of the early names for the Mississippi River.