I am one of five heirs to the monastery of Jesús Pobre, a 17th century building, amortised in 1836 by Mendizábal. When my parents found it as a ruin in the late 1960s, they restored it at great cost to its original state.
It has since been our family home, but has always been shared with others; it has hosted concerts from the English church, art exhibitions and even a bridge tournament.
The Onkenhout family has always considered the monastery as patrimony of the Valencian people and both my parents have always envisioned its return to the Valencian community as its heritage.
These agreements look to fall victim to political infighting and intrigues within the Socialist party. Four councillors were dismissed on March 10, ostensibly in a fight about funding of a deficit of the university of Alicante, although also probably to free them to be candidates in the elections. Not only the regional government is involved but also the councillors and mayors of Denia and Jesús Pobre.
The monastery of Jesús Pobre dates from 1647 when it was founded by Pare Pere, the holy man of the region. By the 1960s it had been reduced to a ruin.
After the death of its owner, the heirs have spent the last years coming to an agreement with the regional government, which judged the estate to be worth 2 million euros.
The Onkenhout family is more interested in coming to an agreement than milking it for all it is worth.
In October 2022 the government and family shook hands on the deal. The sale could not be completed then since the regional government lacked sufficient endowment.
It was agreed to conclude the transaction early in 2023. The Onkenhout family explicitly refrained from seeking buyers elsewhere.
In early March, it became clear that the monastery was going to fall victim to political games played prior to the May elections. The available funds were not freed.
The Onkenhout family restored an essential piece of the past with every care and took the initiative to restore it at a ´friend’s price to the Valencian people.
Until mid-March when the funds specifically destined for the agreement, were frozen.
Is a centuries old national patrimony to be sacrificed for short term gain by some local politicians?
Maaike Ellen Onkenhout