Monasterio de Santa Catalina
If you have time to visit only one thing in Arequipa, let it be the Monasterio de Santa Catalina.
The Monasterio de Santa Catalina
The Monasterio de Santa Catalina can be found a little north of the Plaza de Armas, in Arequipa. It was one of the nicest museums I visited in Peru.
Convent or Beguinage?
The setup of the convent reminded me more of the way beguinage works. Nuns normally take the vows of obedience to their order, celibacy, and poverty. The nuns in this convent however bent the rules a bit. First: they could receive gifts. Technically, these gifts were for the community. But in reality, these gifts were for the use of the nun whose family donated it. The nuns had staff working for them, they had individual kitchens, …
At the end of the nineteenth century, however, Pope Pius IX ordered the nuns to live as could be expected from nuns, being in community (and not individually) and to share the wealth of the community with all. He also forced the nuns to accept girls from not-so-rich families to enter the convent.
The nuns were first a part of the novices convent for three years. They had a cell (about the size of an NYC studio). After the training, they transferred to the second part of the convent, where the nuns had houses. They sometimes lived there by themselves (with slaves and servants) or they shared a house with one or two other nuns.
When I visited the convent, I used the services of one of the freelance guides inside the area. It turned out to be $20 very well spent. As a good tour guide (takes one to know one…) not only ready to share the stories, but also to discuss and be knowledgeable beyond the usual tour conversation.
Koen Blanquart is a strategy consultant, journalist, and author.
Wanderlust is one of his driving factors, and he shares his travels here on Boarding Today. Koen is also the skipper of SV Bagabonda, a sailing vessel making a slow circumvention of the globe..
Koen recently published a book on how to manage a remote team: The Suitcase Office.