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