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Coimbra, Portugal: Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Nova & tomb of St. Elizabeth of Portugal

About the Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Nova in Coimbra:

They say in real estate that location is everything, and that is certainly the case here. Originally this convent was Mosteiro de Santa Clara-a-Velha, located in an area of the city that was prone to flooding.  It was later built at the current location and the name changed to Santa Clara-a-Nova.  Located on high ground, it offers a beautiful view of the city.  The interior is magnificent, and most notably for the fact that includes the tomb of a saint:  Saint Elizabeth of Portugal.

About Elizabeth of Portugal:

Elizabeth of Portugal was named after her relative, Saint Elizabeth of Hungary. She was enthusiastic about her Catholic faith from a young age; fasting, doing works of penance and attending daily Mass.  She had been promised in marriage to King Denis of Portugal at an early age…and upon reaching 17 (he was 26), she did indeed marry him.  She was admired (not by all the courtiers, of course) for her devotion to the poor and sick. During her reign, she earned the title of “peacemaker”, having on more than one occasion prevented battles by riding out between the opposing forces.

When Denis died in 1325, Elizabeth retired to the monastery here run by the Poor Clare nuns. She joined the Third Order of St. Francis and became a benefactor of various hospitals and religious projects in Portugal. She helped alleviate hunger during a famine in 1293 by donating flour from her cellars. She died from a fever on July 4, 1336.

Miracles were said to have followed quickly after her death.  She was canonized in 1626, and her feast day is celebrated on July 4.

Finding the Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Nova:

Address: confraria rainha, 3040-270 Coimbra, Portugal

Tel:  +351 239 441 674

Click here for a semi-official site for the Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Nova

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