History of Sant Benet de Bages
The Benedictine monastery of Sant Benet de Bages, on the municipal boundary of Sant Fruitós de Bages, is one of the best preserved medieval monastic sites in Catalonia. Since 2007 when it was opened as Món Sant Benet, the monastery has managed to recover the architectural and heritage splendour that distinguished it in the Middle Ages.
Founded in 960 by the family of the Viscounts of Conflent, the church was consecrated in 972 in the presence of Count Borrell of Barcelona. It initially held the relics of Saint Valentine by direct grant from Rome, where it obtained a papal licence.
It achieved its highest profile and greatest prosperity in the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries, despite the attacks it occasionally received from Muslim troops. Between 1045 and 1074, Sant Benet was ruled by Abbot Miró, brother of Ramon Berenguer I, Count of Barcelona and Girona.
The plague, problems with neighbours and vassals and a lack of maintenance sank Sant Benet into decline from the 15th century onwards. After 1620, the monastery became the site of a College of Arts and, shortly afterwards, it became a home for elderly monks from Montserrat.
The abolition of the religious orders halted the monastic activity of Sant Benet in 1835, this time permanently. Only the church continued its activity and the site was abandoned and deserted until, in 1907, it was acquired by the family of the artist Ramon Casas and the architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch was commissioned to restore it.
In 2000, the space was acquired by Caixa Manresa, which drew up a project for its careful restoration, culminating in 2007 in the opening of Món Sant Benet.