The Monastery of Our Lady of Divine Providence is a mid-twentieth century structure whose architecture – or at least, what one can see of it – hearkens back to earlier times and, in particular, references Assisi on a smaller scale. This is the lesser of the two Poor Clares convents currently existing in Barcelona (the greater being that of the Royal Monastery of Santa Maria de Pedralbes, not far away.) It was founded in 1834 as a contemplative community dedicated to reviving the old or “primitive” rule of St. Clare of Assisi. Teresa Arguyol i Fontseca, the foundress of the convent, also founded a school for girls and went on to found two additional convents dedicated to Our Lady of Divine Providence in the nearby cities of Badalona and Mataró.
In 1936, the old convent was torched and completely destroyed by the Leftists at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. Because the destruction was so complete, the nuns decided to move out of central Gràcia and up into the then-more northern limits of the city, in the hilly area known as El Putxet. The new church and monastic complex was completed in 1953, and the nuns remain in cloister there today.
One of the nuns in residence at the monastery (sometimes she is incorrectly referred to as the foundress) was Coloma Antònia Martí Valls (1860-1899), renowned for her personal sanctity. Her case was presented to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in 1956 by the Archdiocese. In 1996 she was designated a “Servant of God”, and the cause for raising her to the status of “Venerable” is still being investigated.
Sadly, despite exhaustive efforts I have not been able to locate any images of the interior of either the church or the convent, although I know that the public can visit and attend mass here. This is another example of how, unfortunately, religious communities and parishes in Barcelona are not taking full advantage of the possibilities of modern means of communication. Still, it will give me an excuse to drop by on my next visit to the city and see what I can snap for myself.