Room 3: Rome to Convent of La Peñuela
San Juan de la Cruz himself spent some time in this convent, which is an example of authentic retreat and spiritual desert, as it is isolated in the mountains next to the Camino Real de Andalucía. The friars acquired a great reputation for sanctity and received new donations, building a new convent house with an oil mill, olive grove and an extensive vegetable garden. In 1591 the great Spanish mystic, doctor of the Universal Church and patron saint of poets, San Juan de la Cruz wanted to stay here, but he had to be transferred to Úbeda to cure some infected wounds in his leg which finally caused his death on 14th December of that year. As he was dying he appeared giving mass in the old oratory of La Peñuela to his beloved brothers, who have venerated him ever since as the protector and patron saint of these lands. In 1767, the convent was expropriated and bought by the State to build the capital of the Nuevas Poblaciones de Sierra Morena and Andalucía, being the original nucleus from which the construction of La Carolina began. The current Chapel of San Juan de la Cruz is the place of the old oratory of La Peñuela.