Community ID
Corporate Status
Virgin Mary of Pedralbes
Date Founded
Date Terminated
Still active
Religious Order
Poor Clares
Foundation Information

Elisenda de Montcada, queen of Aragon and fourth wife of King Jaume II purchased the manor of Pedralbes (lat.: petras albas = white stones) from Admiral Bernat de Sarria, and used the land to found a monastery to which she retired when the king died in 1327, and from which she continued to participate in the affairs of court.

Notable Heads

NULL. Beginning in 1586, the nuns instituted a system by which an abbess would rule for three years only, then be replaced by another, although many women ended up serving twice, or sometimes even three times. This system continues down to today. However, during the medieval period, the abbesses of Pedralbes served for life, or until they chose to retire. The following is a list of medieval abbesses. The end dates of their abbacies are the dates of their death, unless otherwise noted.// 1326-36: Sobriana d'Olzet; 1336-64: Francesca Sa Portella; 1364-75: Sibila de Caixans; 1375-96: Agnes ca Rovira; 1396-1409: Violant de Pallars (died 1418); 1409-11: Isabel March; 1411-24: Saurina Vallseca; 1424-47: Margarida de Montcada; 1447-77: Violant de Centelles; 1477-94: unknown; 1494-95: Violant de Montcada i Lluna (died in 1515, after serving a second term); 1495-1507: Teresa Enriquez (died later, in a convent of Jeronimes [S. Maties?]); 1507-1515: Violand de Montcada i Lluna (2nd term).

Other Ecclesiastical Relations

A small community of Franciscan friars (called the "conventelet" or "conventet") was founded near the convent during the fourteenth century, and the friars ministered to the nuns' spiritual needs.


Founder, Philip II, Monsignor Jaume Despujol. Enjoyed noble patronage throughout the medieval period, and well beyond.

Relative Wealth

Extremely wealthy.

Literary Works

In 1897, Sister Eulalia Anzizu produced a history of the house: Fulles historiques del Real Monestir de Sta. María de Pedralbes

Art & Artifacts

The monastery possesses many treasures, including a gold-plated silver "true cross," donated to the monastery in the 14th century by its administrator, Monsignor Jaume Despujol. The community's most famous artistic treasure is the group of paintings, dating from 1346, in St. Michael's chapel. Ferrer Bassa painted over two dozen seperate scenes (see St. Michael's Chapel frescoes and Christ Seated in Judgement for images, and more details about the paintings and the artist).

Architecture & Archaeology

Pedralbes Monastery, exterior, Pedralbes Monastery, cloister (view 1), NULL, Pedralbes Monastery, chapter house and Pedralbes, chapter house (detail). The monastery church (not pictured) is a typical example of the Catalan Gothic style, featuring massive walls with little ornamentation. It is a single nave, with side chapels. Queen Elisenda is buried where the south wall of the church abuts the north wall of the cloister, and her tomb is marked by a funerary sculpture on either side: On the cloister side she is depicted as a nun, while on the church side, she is shown as a queen.

State Of Medieval Structure

The monastery was declared a national historic and artistic monument in 1931. The ajuntament of Barcelona purchased the cloister from the nuns in 1972, building them a new cloister nearby, and converting the old cloister into a museum.

Marie Kelleher
Date Started