Arequipa’s Santa Catalina: Nuns in the Lap of Luxury

by admin on June 28, 2009

Arequipa is one of my favorite places to visit in Peru. I took this photo from inside the Santa Catalina convent after climbing dozens of stairs to get to a vantage point that would allow me to photograph Misti, one of the three volcanos that surround Arequipa. The pine tree in the foreground is growing on the property of the Convent which is remarkably intact having been built in 1579. According to our guide, the novices of this Convent were first born daughters of wealthy citizens who were privileged to live there. Unlike the vows of poverty that are often associated with those who dedicate themselves to religious lives, these girls lived in luxury, being waited on by servants and receiving gifts and food from their wealthy families. It is a great tourist attraction and if you have children their imaginations will run wild as they walk the cobblestone paths, peek their heads in the doorways of the bedrooms and walk through the chapels.