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In the year 1140, St. Alme entered the monastery of the Carthusians in the Spanish city of Castile, known St. Lawrence or the Black Convent. After three of outstanding example in virtue and holiness, Fr. Fernando, the abbot, noticed a significant change in the behavior of St. Alme. Since, he could not extract satisfactory explanation from St. Alme himself concerning his gloomy disposition, Fernando employed Fr. Martinez to look into the matter.

After a few days of intense spying, Fr. Martinez discovered that St. Alme was, actually, a woman disguised as a monk. The next night, Martinez saw Alme the sepulcher in the churchyard and go down. Martinez followed her, only to hear her shriek and faint on seeing a moving human form. Hurriedly, Martinez locked up the gate of the sepulcher, and gathered all the monks who quickly arrested the woman and the ghostly figure. He was none other than Anselm, an old friar.

The next day, Alme, revealed herself to Fr. Fernando, as Beatrice, the daughter of Anselm who was, actually, the noble man Raymond de Spalanza. Fernando forgave her when she explained how she was forced to enter the monastery in disguise in search of her ailing father who had joined the monastery for a quiet death. Meanwhile, Alphonso, the lover of Beatrice, also reached the monastery in search of her. It was explained that he could not marry Beatrice because he was incarcerated on a trumped up charge, by his own father. With Raymond’s assent, Fr. Fernando united the lovers in holy matrimony in the chapel of the Black Convent and lived happily ever after.

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A. Neil




Literature in English, British Isles


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The Mystery of the Black Convent. An Interesting Spanish Tale of the Eleventh Century.