Convent de Sant Bernadí ( of the Franciscans )

In 1607 the Franciscans came to Petra, where they built first a small church and some conventual buildings. In 1657 was started the current church of the convent, that was finished 20 years later. Then was built the cloister and the buildings around. Because of the Ecclesiastical Confiscations of 1836 the religious community had to leave the monastery and did not return until 1969. But then they could only occupy a small part of the monastery because many of the monastery´s quarters had been privatized. The convent church, which follows the Renaissance tradition, has a basilica ground plan with only one nave covered by barrel vault, and lateral chapels. Very remarkable are the chapels of Ramon Llull and the chapel of the Angels because of their ceramics and altar frontals. Inside the church can be admired the mural paintings and particularly several baroque altarpieces from the end of the 17th century and the beginning of the 18th. The main altarpiece as well as the altarpieces of Sant Crist, of the Virgin of Angels and of Sant Francesc are of particular importance. The main altarpiece (1721 to 1724 carried out by the sculptor Gaspar Oms) is presided over by a carving of the Immaculate Conception, with Saint John of Capistrano and Saint James of the March on the sides and Saint Bernard, to which the church is dedicated, on top. In the Chapel of Bethlehem (blessed in 1686) are located some gothic sculptures of angels brought from an antique Christmas crib of the Jesus Convent in Palma. One aspect which should be noted is that nearly all the missions that he founded carry the names of the Saints venerated in the chapels of this convent church: Santa Clara, Sant Francesc, Sant Antoni, la Mare de Déu dels Àngels, San Diego, Sant Gabriel, Sant Bonaventura and Sant Joan de Capistrano. The Franciscan convent of Petra is where the boy Miquel Josep Serra received his first religious education that awaked his desire of becoming a Franciscan. In 1731, when he was 17 years old, he entered the Franciscan order and took the name of Junípero. His great intellectual ability was recognized at once, and he was already lecturing in one of the order’s schools before he was ordained in 1738. Upon receiving his doctorate in theology, he remained (1743-49) at Lullian University as professor of theology and then volunteered for missionary service in Mexico.


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