Historic Monastery Closes After More Than 800 Years

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Alexander Pease Contributor
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A historic Dominican monastery in Spain is shutting its doors after over 800 years.

The monastery, called the Santo Domingo el Real, was founded by St. Dominic de Guzmán around 805 years ago, but will now close down due to a lack of new religious vocations, according to a Thursday social media post by Irish-born Dominican friar Conor McDonough.

In a picture included in McDonough’s post, nuns can be seen standing in front of the baptismal font where St. Dominic himself was baptized in the 13th century, McDonough noted. (RELATED: Long-Lost Medieval Church Uncovered Under Piazza San Marco, Venice)

McDonough also noted that among the monastery’s prized possessions is a letter St. Dominic himself wrote to the sisters in its early days.

“Fight the good fight, my daughters, against our ancient foe … Until now you had no place where you could practice your religious life, but now by the grace of God, you have buildings that are quite suitable enough for religious observance,” the letter reads, McDonough posted.

On Feb. 17, the nuns said farewell to the monastery as they marked its 805th anniversary with a Eucharist of thanksgiving, according to, which noted that the monastery will merge with another — also called Santo Domingo el Real and located in the Spanish city of Segovia.

“Those buildings are empty now, but the spiritual combat of these daughters of St Dominic will continue elsewhere. May they progress every day,” McDonough wrote in his post. (RELATED: ‘Sanctuary’ Church Reportedly Pays $15,000 To Free Migrant From Rikers Island)

St. Dominic founded the Order of Preachers — unofficially known as the Dominicans — in 1216, according to the Dominican Friars Foundation. The order went on to produce many prominent saints, including Thomas Aquinas, Catherine of Siena and Pope Pius V.