One of the leading producers in Alentejo, Fundação Eugénio de Almeida, owner of the Cartuxa winery and several properties in Alentejo, is promoting visits to the Monastery of Santa Maria de Scala Coeli until the end of September.
This historical, artistic and architectural heritage of great value, where the Carthusian monks lived until October 2019 is the responsibility of the Eugénio de Almeida Foundation (FEA), an institution under private law and public utility, based in Évora.
Until then it was the only male contemplative monastery in Portugal. Now, in order to meet the interest expressed by the community in getting to know the monastery, the Eugénio de Almeida Foundation promotes the free open visit, without prior registration, until the end of September, on Saturdays and Sundays, between 10 am and at 6 pm.
In addition to the open visit, the program of guided visits will continue, with prior registration on the website of the Eugénio de Almeida Foundation, limited to 20 participants per visit. An interesting cultural program and a unique opportunity, since after September the monastery will receive the sisters of the Institute of Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matará.
It is recalled that the Convent of the Cartuxa of Évora is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, under the name Scala Coeli, the Escada do Céu. The convent was integrated into the National Treasury in 1834, after the extinction of religious orders, and the 13 monks and eight laypeople who lived there were expelled and their goods confiscated and sold off.
In 1869, after the closure of the agricultural school that, meanwhile, would be installed in the space, José Maria Eugénio de Almeida bought the monastery completely degraded, as well as and the surrounding agricultural land. The monastery was later rebuilt in 1948, by Vasco Maria Eugénio de Almeida, great-grandson of José Maria and Founder of FEA, who returned it to the Cartusian Order, which reopened it after 12 years, according to the Carthusian way of life, made of silence, prayer and absolute surrender to God.
Photo: Christian Family Archive