Hieronymites

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Hieronymites, a common name for several congregations of hermits living according to the rule of St Augustine with supplementary regulations taken from St Jerome's writings. Their traditional habit is a white tunic with brown hooded scapular and brown mantle.



The Iberian Hieronymites

Established near Toledo in 1374, the Order soon became popular in Spain and Portugal, and in 1415 it numbered 25 houses. It possessed some of the most famous monasteries in the Peninsula, including the royal monastery of Santa Maria de Guadalupe in Extremadura, the royal monastery of Belem near Lisbon, and the magnificent monastery built by Philip II of Spain at the Escorial.

Though the manner of life was very austere, the Hieronymites also devoted themselves to study and to active ministry, possessing great influence both at courts of Spain and Portugal. They went to Spanish and Portuguese America and played a considerable part in bringing Christianity to the peoples of that continent. The Hieronymite nuns, founded in 1375, also became numerous in the Iberian Peninsula.

The order declined during the 18th century and was completely suppressed in 1835. At that time, there were 48 monasteries and about a thousand monks. The fate of the houses was diverse: most fell into ruins, others were given to other religious orders; still more became breweries, barns, or holiday homes.

However, according to Canon Law, only the Holy See may suppress a religious order, and the Holy See...
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