Tag Archives: convent

Iglesia Regina Angelorum

Iglesia y Convento Regina Angelorum / Church and Convent of Regina Angelorum

Iglesia y Convento Regina Angelorum is the first building made exclusively for the Dominican nuns (monjas dominicanas). When six nuns arrived in 1560 the Convent of Santa Clara was the only convent in the city that belonged to the Franciscan sisters. They needed another convent in which to live. They had this convent built.

Front of the Church and Convent Regina Angelorum

The original convent and place of worship for these six Dominican nuns was nothing more than a plain room. By 1567 they had begun construction on a more appropriate temple on land donated by Maria de Arana.

Side door of the Church Regina Angelorum

The nuns of Regina Angelrum had to emigrate to Havana, Cuba, because of the Treaty of Basel in December 1795. In 1820 the surviving nuns returned to Hispaniola. Then, in 1866, President Cabral turned the building over to Father Billini (his remains are located in the church).

Iglesia Regina Angelorum

Padre Billini started the School San Luis de Gonzaga in this location. Later, the convent was reconstructed and turned into an institute for the ladies of Salomé Ureña. The first female poets in the New World, Leonor de Ovando and Elvira de Mendoza, once lived here. Since 1916 the Mercedarias nuns have occupied the building.

Iglesia Regina Angelorum interior

Recent History

The original structure was replaced with the building that is there now. This newer temple had its foundation laid in 1714. It was completed in 1722.

Interior domed ceiling of the Iglesia y Convento Regina Angelorum

The Iglesia and Convento Regina Angelorum is one of the best preserved churches in the city. It is also one of the most beautiful with its 17th century Gothic style vaults and ornamentation. Inside this beautiful church near one of its alters is a wall of silver. The altar was made by Pedro Roldán and Francisco Dionisio de Ribas in 1668.

Silver wall of the Iglesia Regina Angelorum

Did You Know?

*The definition of the Latin words Regina Angelorum is Queen of Angels. A longer phrase is Opus Sanctorum Angelorum in English means Work of the Holy Angels.

*When the French invaded Santo Domingo in 1810 the convent was taken and used as a barracks for the troops.

*Different times throughout the history of the building is has been used as a hat factory, a warehouse and a tenement house.

*In the late 1500’s Sir Francis Drake looted the church and removed a valuable golden statue that was embedded with costly jewels.


Monday thru Saturday 9AM to 6PM. To enter you must have permission from the nuns that reside within.

Church Regina Angelorum on Calle Padre Billini


From Calle el Conde turn south onto Calle José Reyes. Walk 2 blocks to Calle Padre Billini.

Iglesia de Santa Clara

Convento y Iglesia de Santa Clara/ Convent and Church of Santa Clara

Iglesia de Santa Clara

The nuns of Santa Clara arrived in the colony in 1552. The land where the Church and convent are built was donated by Alvaro de Castro, the public prosecutor of the Inquisition. Don Rodrigo Pimentel ordered that the convent was to be built in the 16th century, 1550 to 1559. Rodrigo de Bastidas, Diego Colón, Rodrigo de Pimentel y el Arzobispo Alonso de Fuenmayor all put in their ideas for the design.

Balcony of the Colegio Santa Clara

The first convent of the new world

, was occupied in 1590. When the French occupied the city in 1796 the nuns left for Cuba and returned in 1820. The church, convent and mausoleum of Christopher Columbus/ Cristóbal Colon and his decedents were originally dedicated to Santa Ana. Later it was changed and named after Santa Clara and the nuns/ monjas Clarisas. In 1873, the monastery in ruins, was given to the Sisters of Charity of Cardinal Sancha/ las hermanas de la Caridad del Cardenal Sancha, who restored it and now occupy a college where they operate.

Iglesia de Santa Clara

The monastery was created for girls in the city Ozama (Urbe del Ozama) to study and be educated. The founders were Franciscan who wore the brown sackcloth robe tied with a cord and a brown cape. These Franciscan monks are still seen walking through the Colonial city. The sisters now live behind the church on Calle las Damas. The iglesia houses a school where some days you can hear the children gathering in the church singing hymns with the sound coming out into the street like a soft wave.

The building is very plain consisting of a smooth, non-descript outer wall and a very simple entryway. The interior is decorated in Gothic style.

Iglesia de Santa Clara front door


From east Calle el Conde turn south (towards the sea) on Isabel la Católica. Go about 2 blocks to Padre Billini and it is on that corner to Calle las Damas, Zona Colonial.