Life of nuns

Life of nuns

[Dec. 2022] The second day in Zafra, a town in Spain near the border with Portugal, was cloudy and chilly unlike the day before.

If you walk from Plaza Grande to Calle Sevilla, the shopping street, you will see Convento de Santa Clara, one of the highlights of this town, on your right.

inside the church of Convento de Santa Clara in Zafra, Spain
lavish chapels in the church

Admission was free.

The convent was founded in 1423, and the existing buildings date from the 15th to 18th centuries.

According to the guidebook, it is built in the Mudéjar style.

What caught my eye was the splendor of the church inside the convent.

The main altar and the surrounding chapels were gilded.

However, the images of the Virgin Mary and Jesus on the altar look like primitive art.

statue in Convento de Santa Clara in Zafra, Spain
the statue which looks like a primitive art

Quite frankly, it’s ugly.

Other statues are as beautiful as mannequins.

This ugly one seemed to be from the 15th century.

There was also a corner that reproduced a very simple nun’s room.

The most interesting thing was the video that told the life of the nuns that was playing in one corner of the room where the treasures were displayed.

Since it was only in Spanish, I didn’t understand the details of the explanation, but since it’s a video, I could roughly imagine it.

reproduced nun's room in Convento de Santa Clara in Zafra, Spain
very simple nun’s room

For example, when eating, only the one who reads the Bible is allowed to speak aloud, while the others just eat silently.

It seems that music occupies an important place in their lives, and the state of singing practice was shown.

Then, in the afternoon, they seem to have a good time together and some of them were laughing loud, looking happy.

There was also some nuns playing basketball outside.

This video was made in 2007, and at this time, I found at least 10 nuns living here.

Two of them were black nuns.

a shop selling biscuits made by nuns at Convento de Santa Clara in Zafra, Spain
nuns’ biscuits are sold here

Some of the nuns looked very old.

We could not find how many people currently live in the convent.

As the video was showing, the biscuits made by the nuns are sold at the shop in the annex.

We bought a box of marzipan sweets (€7) as a thank you for letting us in for free.

When I rang the bell, the nun in charge came out, and she was also black.

Unfortunately, I have never had an experience that the sweets we bought at monasteries or convents were delicious…