Monasterio de San Jose, the Abode of Santa Teresa
Medina del Campo is a town located in the historic province of Valladolid, Castile and León autonomous region. Castilla y León, which was originally two separate kingdoms (Castilla and León), merged together as one region under one leadership in 1203. Today, the region of Castilla y León remains as one kingdom, and celebrates its Castile and León Day every April 23.
Monasterio de San Jose
It is said that the region of Castilla y León has a total of 8 World Heritage Sites in its area alone and Im glad we were able to see some of them during our recent visit.
Convento de San Jose in Medina del Campo
We checked out very early in the morning at NH Palacio De Castellanos (hotel info) in the neighboring province of Salamanca. We proceeded to Medina del Campo, a town in the modern-day kingdom of Castilla y León. For Pilgrims, Medina del Campo was a good head start in exploring the wonders of Castilla y León, as the former is located in the heart of the latter.
Entrance of Convento de San Jose
The trip to the neighbouring province of Valladolid (just north of Salamanca on the map) did not take too long, and when we got there, the weather was fair and nice. You could easily see the silhouettes of the mountains from afar in almost every direction, but we know that there’s so much more for us in there.
Convent of San Jose
According to our tour guide, Medina del Campo is a farming capital in the region of Castilla y León. Although it is strategically located in the heart of Castilla y León, it is situated far and away from the region’s major, urbanized, economic and industrial centers.
Small Garden inside Monasterio de San José Carmelitas Descalzas Madina del Campo
This proves itself to be true, as when we arrived in the Medina del Campo, the town gave off a slightly different ambiance compared to a large city, like the City of Salamanca which we went to the day before. I also readily noticed that the streets of Medina del Campo had so many furniture shops around the town.
Chapel inside the convent
Our travel guide also mentioned that the shops have opened on Sundays since the 19th century. I wasn’t a fan of woodcraft and all that, but you can really see the finesse and the effort reflected on the appearances of the furniture the locals craft to sell.
Image of Sta Teresa
We didn’t stop to buy ourselves a souvenir or two of crafts, however. We continued on to Monasterio de San Jose.
Convento de San Jose via Wikipedia
We had a very time-constrained schedule, so we were only able to visit Monasterio de San Jose. It was perhaps one of the buildings that held the most historical significance in the area.
A beautifully painted dome in one of the small prayer rooms
Our tour guide told us that Monasterio de San Jose is established by Santa Teresa on August 15, 1567. It is considered the second home of the Reformed Carmelite Order, and the meeting place of St. John of the Cross and Santa Teresa of Avila. The centuries-old monastery remains as it was until today, except for the constructed church and main altar that used to have a golden retablo added in 1596 and 1622, respectively.
Old Structure inside the convent
We were allowed to go inside the convent, and we saw the rooms which served as the foundations of the monastery. The rooms looked really old, and it’s equally amazing how the people were able to preserve the rooms with such historical beauty. The structure reminded us of the old houses in La Alberca, where each building was built using wood, bricks and stones.
Room of Santa Teresa
We also explored the rooms inside the centuries old building. One of the rooms, which I figured was originally Santa Teresa’s room which contained her original bed, personal belongings and artistic works of her, was also well-preserved.
Santa Teresa and St John of the Cross
After that we strolled to the room where Santa Teresa and St. John of the Cross met, and then to the cells where the Carmelite Reform is displayed, and then to an oratory chapel.
Virgen con el Nino from the Philippines
Next to the Chapel, is a small room cramped with a vast collection of Virgin Mary Images. I was especially awed by an ivory-crafted image of the Virgin Mary from the Philippines! It is called, I read, Virgen con el Nino. Also inside the room was a 15th century painting bought by a local nun, and many other creative and touching replicas of the Virgin Mary.
Various relics of St Teresa
In one of the walls, a painting showing Sta Teresa and St John of the Cross together was displayed. Our tour guide told us that the painting was not realistic since Santa Teresa was much taller than St John of the Cross.
Some of the handwritings of Sta Teresa
It was sad that we only got to visit Monasterio de San Jose in our visit to Medina del Campo. I wished we were able to explore more. But nevertheless, my experience in the Monasterio, both spiritual and physical, is something worth remembering.