Hieronymites

In the fourth century certain Roman ladies at Bethlehem placed themselves under Jerome's direction. Though he founded a monastery there, it is in the fourteenth century that one looks to Fernando Pecha, who founded the Hieronymites in Spain. Gregory XI confirmed the order in 1373. In 1389 the monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe passed into their hands. The Palace Monastery of San Lorenzo del Escorial, erected by Philip II outside Madrid, contains the richest library in Spain. A third important monastery is Belem, where the Portuguese kings are buried. Generous almsgiving marks the order, though its original strict observance of an Augustinian Rule relaxed so that in 1780 Charles III received special papal permission to solve disciplinary problems. In 1837 the Hieronymite Order as reorganized in 1585 was suspended.