La Viciosa Convent

The ancients said that the land was vicious when it was especially vigorous and strong, very good at producing. Today the most used connotations of the word are quite different, but even the dictionary of the Royal Academy of the language remembers it exactly the same as that of our elders, in addition to other meanings that say how vicious it is: abundant, provided and delightful…

The goodness of this place had already been noticed by the Count of Oropesa, who built himself a country house in one of the paradises of the villuercas; in a deep valley, with abundant water, near the great Almonte river and on the way to Jaraicejo.

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In this place the convent of San Juan Bautista de la Viciosa was founded in 1561 within the province of San José of the order of San Francisco. Fred Pedro de Alcántara, who later became the great Saint of Extremadura, San Pedro de Alcántara, was his custodian from the beginning.

in the chapter of the order, referring to the Foundation, it says: “this house was built at the third stone of the city of delightful Hispanic city, at the expense of the illustrious Count of Oropesa and in honor of St. John the Baptist, in a very poor way. it was admitted and joined to the 5 remaining convents, whose fame of sanctity cost”.

The Count of Oropesa Don Fernando de Toledo y Monroy offered this place to the order and also to pay for the necessary repairs to convert the house into a convent. At the beginning, the building was small and it was complex to fit all the rooms that a monastery convent needed: the church, the refectory, the cells for the monks and other rooms for offices, warehouses, etc.

In another file we are informed of the situation in a very graphic way: “This convent was surrounded by very rough mountains. St. Peter of Alcantara liked this convent to dwell there. so he built in the garden a small chapel which he wished to be called Our Lady of Bethlehem, in which he expressed the mystery of the nativity of Christ and was adorned with revelations and other supernatural gifts from heaven.”

In the convent of San Juan la viciosa lived between 12 and 15 friars habitually and spent important personalities of the time some were buried there. For a long time the splendor of the convent reached heights of great prestige among the Franciscans.

but in 1593 a transcendental event will take place for the life and ruin of the place. the friary was transferred from the Province of St. Joseph to the Province of St. Gabriel. With this decision, the Count of Oropesa lost the relationship he had with the convent and the new owners had very different plans. The documents of the time relate it in this way:

“Among the convents of the barter was the aforementioned convent of which the most reverend fathers of the province of San Gabriel disposed of it very quickly, and moved the Foundation to Trujillo; whose distress the most devoted Count of Oropesa felt in extreme; and not to be buried in the shadow of oblivion the prodigious feats of San Pedro de Alcántara, and the heroic deeds of his sons, he gave him to the most reverend Augustinian discalced fathers, who preserve that sanctuary with so much devotion and care, which is manifested in the eyes of the appreciation, they make of that singular and prodigious oratory.”

The province of San Gabriel from the beginning tried to found a house in the city of Trujillo. tried repeatedly. He did not stop until he got it andOnce they took possession of the convent in Trujillo, they informed the Count of Oropesa that they were handing over the convent with all its jewels and belongings. Once the convent was abandoned by the Franciscans, it was taken over by the Discalced Augustinian Fathers.

The convent was destroyed by the French, it also suffered the Carlist wars, hiding place in the civil war and also of the maquis that operated in these mountains.