Thursday, November 10, 2011

Pisa Charterhouse

Pisa Charterhouse was founded in 1366 in the Val Graziosa valley in the Pisan mountains. Its current shape dates from the 17th and 18th centuries. It was supressed during the Napoleonic era (1808); an attempt to repopulate it ended in 1969.

One enters by a vestibule to the right of which is the chapel of St Sebastian, which was destined for the worship of female guests, whose hospice is on the other side of the vestibule.

The façade of the church seen from the vestibule.

The interior of the church (17th c.). The wall seperates the choir of the monks from the choir of the lay brothers (conversi).

Adjoining the church are the chapels for the daily Masses of the priest monks. In all of them, as in the church itself, note the beautiful floors with geometric patterns in white, grey and black marble. The frescoes of these 18th c. chapels are still in their original state. Chapel of St Bruno:

The largest chapel, that of the Rosary:

Detail of the ceiling in one of the chapels:

The characteristic large cloister, around which the cell-houses of the priest monks are arranged.

Entrance to a cell; to the left is the opening for passing food into the cell.

Above the doors are images of Carthusian saints. Here we have blessed Niccolò Albergati, who became Cardinal Archbishop of Bologna after more than 20 years as a Carthusian monk, and Blessed Stefano Maconi, a disciple of St Catherine of Siena, after whose death he entered the Charterhouse of Pontigniano near Siena.

St. Rosaline of Villeneuve; you will observe the use of stole and maniple, a custom unique of Carthusian nuns, which we have mentioned before.

Finally, a beautiful fresco of Jacob's ladder in the main staircase.

More recent articles:

For more articles, see the NLM archives: