The Convent of Our Lady of Arrábida, which belonged to the Franciscan Province of Arrábida, is half hidden among the trees in the south of the Sierra de Arrábida side, facing the sea. This construction of the 16th century was once a Franciscan convent. Is now included in the Arrábida Natural Park. The five round towers on the cliff were probably used for solitary meditation.
The foundation of a convent in Arrábida date of the end of 1538-1539, when Bishop John of Lancaster 1st Duke of Aveiro promised to Brother Martin (Martin de Santa Maria Benavides), an Andalusian barefoot friar of the Order of St. Francis, fulfill the his desire to lead a hermit’s life and exclusively dedicated to Our Lady.
The duke gave him the Capuchin Convent, where already was an open chapel for worship in that worshiped the image known as Our Lady of Arrábida. It is then that there comes St. Peter of Alcantara help your relative, the Spanish friar to create the Franciscan Custody Arrábida then subject to the Minister General of the Franciscan convent. Later custody Arrábida was elevated to Arrábida Province and was formally subject, albeit with a high degree of autonomy, the Minister General of the Franciscan Observant. The Franciscans friars, as they were popularly known, began by call itself officially as Discalced Franciscans and later as followed the constitutions drawn up by St. Peter of Acântara, Discalced Franciscans Alcantarines or abbreviated Franciscans Alcantarines.
Jorge de Lencastre, son of the first Duke of Aveiro, continued the works in the Convent of Arrábida and did build a fence to seal the area of the convent. Later, Don Alvaro de Lencastre, his cousin, had built the inn that served as his bed and designed the watchtowers on the crest of the hill, linking the convent to the foot of the mountain, leaving, however, three unfinished. In 1650, Dona Ana Manique de Lara, widow of the Duke of Torres Novas and daughter of Don Alvaro, he built two chapels. In turn, the son of Don Alvaro, D. Anthony of Lancaster, had built the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus.
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