A new life for the convent of Santa Clara

A sign on the gate Santa Clara convent, in Toledo, informs Toledo residents and tourists about the schedule for guided tours of its premises. Reiji is in charge of opening its doors and also keeping safe this set of Mudejar palaces that was orphaned of religious life seven years ago, when the few inhabitants who lived in it left due to their advanced age and economic problems.

Together with his wife and children, since 2018 he has been in charge of the conservation and cleaning of this 14th-century building, located in the old town, which originally came to be inhabited by more than a hundred Poor Clares. A job that he combines with his work as a receptionist at the Santa Isabel hotel.

For years now, the trickle of closings of convents in the city has been incessant. In the capital of Castilla-La Mancha there were 52, but today 34 and a dozen religious communities remain, as revealed by the professor of Art History and Cultural Heritage at the School of Architecture, Ignacio González-Varas, in a recent study.

The convent of Santa Ursula, that of the Capuchins and that of Santa Clara These are some examples of the monasteries that in recent times have been forced to close due to the lack of vocations and their delicate economic situation.

To deal with this loss of conventual patrimony, the Toledo Consortium has been put to work. This institution, dedicated to the conservation and revitalization of the historic and residential heritage of the old town, works so that the walls of the convent can house new uses that help prevent deterioration or even that new religious communities can once again walk the corridors of this jewel of sacred heritage.

His manager works for this purpose. Jesús Corroto explains that the desire of the Clarisas is that another religious order could convert the convent “like your home” and thus not lose the spiritual concept of the building. “This is the priority objective of the sisters and we are working on it. There are some interested orders from Latin America », she reveals.

The nuns are clear that what they don’t want this to become a tourist issue [un hotel]adds Corroto, and thus “the essence of spirituality that has existed for so many centuries” is distorted.

In this desire to find new alternative uses that do not distort the silence and the prayers that have taken place within those walls over the years, Corroto is clear that he will do everything in his power to fulfill the will of Sister Inmaculada. , clarisa recently deceased.

To do this, another of the options being considered is that the building could house a residence for students, teachers or group of people what “want to live in the city as if it were a retirement»; or a residence for students internationally linked to the world of Spanish, languages ​​or other cultural and heritage options of the humanities.

population fixation

The strategic concept of the Consortium for 2030 is the fixation of population in the Historic District and within this objective are the monasteries. “The convents are homes And in the town, spiritual life is important, not only because of the history and spirituality of Toledo, but because the convents are also really part of the identity of the town, of the city and of our heritage,” says Corroto. “They are part of society and the idiosyncrasy of the town, and that is why this population fixation is important for the Consortium,” highlights its manager.

He assures that from the institution his concern is that all buildings that are in disuse, whether private buildings or convents, have a use to help achieve that goal in 2030. As an example, Corroto recalls the five houses that will be built in the Corral de Don Diego or the buildings on Calle Niños Hermosos and Callejón de San Pedrowhich will be rehabilitated to build homes for residents.

«It does not matter whether they are private buildings or convents, the Consortium has no preference for any type of property. The only thing that interests us is, I reiterate, fixing the population in the town and that it is not suitcase up suitcase down, which also has to be because tourism is the engine of Toledo, but we have to balance », he replies. And to achieve this purpose they will look for three profiles: registered residents, long-term rentals and rentals of students and teachers who come for academic years.

At the moment, all these proposals are on the table in order to find the best option to give a new life to the convent of Santa Clara.

A new life for the convent of Santa Clara