Province of Betica
The first house was opened in Andalusia in Gibraleón (1306 - 1320) by the Infantes de la Cerda. From there, the Carmelites made a foundation in (1358) under the patronage of King D. Pedro I. Later on, in the vicinity of the capital, they opened the convent of Escacena del Campo (Huelva) in 1416, and Ecija (Seville) in 1425. In 1498 these four houses were detached from the Province of Castile, to form a new Province.
Even though it was the youngest Province in the Iberian region, Betica very soon began to show signs of its vitality. By the middle of the 16th century it had sixteen houses. Statistics from 1674 show that there were 868 members in the Province as well as 350 Carmelite nuns, living in ten monasteries. The Province had twenty five houses at that time, which is the same number it had when the Suppression began in 1835.
With the closure of the houses and the expulsion of the religious, only a tiny number remained at the time of the Restoration, a process which began in Palma de Mallorca towards the year 1877 and ended in April 1880 with the official opening of Jerez de la Frontera, the first of the restored Carmels in Spain. After this, and not without great effort, the houses of Onda (Castellón), Caudete (Albacete), Hinojosa del Duque (Córdoba), Osuna (Seville) were opened. At the General Chapter in 1889 the Province of Spain was erected under the title of The Most Holy Name of Mary.
This young Province began the restoration of the Order in Brazil. Despite many great difficulties its members succeeded in reacquiring various houses which the Order would surely otherwise have lost (São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Recife, Bahía). In 1906 the Spanish Province was divided into two Provinces, Betica and Arago-Valentine. Both Provinces continued the work of restoration in Brazil. In later years they were joined by members of the Dutch Province who went to work in Rio de Janeiro.
The Betica Province continued to contribute to the restoration of other Provinces such as the Polish Province, between 1925 and 1939, and Portugal between 1930 and 1954. The Civil War (1936 - 1939) had a very cruel impact on parts of Andalusia. The Province lost ten of its members, whose cause for beatification is now under way. With the Province re-established, in 1954 the first group of religious were sent to Venezuela which today is a promising Commissariat. In 2000 a new mission was opined in Burkina Faso.
At present the Province of Betica has about 90 religious working in Spain, Venezuela, Burkina Faso and Italy.
For further information: Province of Betica
Plaza del Buen Suceso, 5
Tel. 95-4211823 (Comun.)