The Monastery of the Divine Mercy in Nové Hrady – formerly the Monastery of St. Peter and Paul of the Order of Friar Servants of Mary – was built in the neighbourhood of the church of St. Peter and Paul in Nové Hrady by the local noble family Buquoy. In 1677 count Ferdinand Buquoy brought the friars of the Servites also called the Servants of Mary here. The construction of an early-baroque monastery started in the following year and was completed in 1686.
The newly-built monastery, whose main mission was caring for the parish of Nové Hrady and the surrounding villages, was integrated into the Czech province of the Order of the Servants of Mary. The province consisted of eight monasteries scattered through out Bohemia and Moravia. Their golden age ended during the time of reforms of the emperor Joseph II., in which six of these monasteries were dissolved. In the 19th century only the monastery in Nové Hrady and in Králiky in eastern Bohemia remained. The monastery in Králiky was dissolved due to the lack of friars in 1883 and the same fate threatened the convent in Nové Hrady.
There was a radical reform in the convent of Nové Hrady in 1886: The Czech province of the Order of the Servants of Mary was dissolved and the monastery in Nové Hrady was incorporated into the province of Tyrol, whose members came to live in the monastery. At that time the monastery in Nové Hrady began to prosper but this prosperity ended after the WW2 when 10 of the 12 friars had to leave because of their German or Austrian origin. The two remaining Czech friars were, as all friars in the former Czechoslovakia, driven out of their monastery during the night from the 13th to the 14th of April in 1950.
From that time on the monastery in Nové Hrady served as a barrack for a crew of frontier police of the Czechoslovakia People’s Army. The crew left the monastery in 1987 and the monastery complex that was totally ruined was left to its own destiny. In 1990, after the fall of the iron curtain, the last of the Czech friars of the Servites was still living, Father Kazimír Jindra. Thanks to this him, the Order of the Servants of Mary was able to ask for the reversion of its former property.
In the following years three friars were sent to Nové Hrady by the Order of the Servants of Mary – Fr. Bonfilius M. Wagner, Fr. Gerhard M. Walder and Fr. Vittoria M. Antollovič. Together they managed to realize an admirable piece of work during 1990’s. They, with the help of many volunteers were able to restore the monastery Nové Hrady. At the same time as the Servites were restoring the monastery and church, the pilgrimage place in Dobrá Voda and other churches and chapels in the region, they also experienced a renewal in the spiritual life. The monastery became the spiritual and cultural center of the Nové Hrady region again.
By 2005 only one of the three priests, Father Bonfilius Wagner, was still living but he was also getting older and he started to be concerned about who would take over the management of the monastery and the parishes. His order, the Servants of Mary, didn’t have enough friars to be able to staff the monastery in Nové Hrady. So the care of the monastery in Nové Hrady was entrusted to the Papaly acknowledged Catholic Missionary Community, the Family of Mary. This occurred on the 30 of September 2006 – the Monastery of St. Peter and Paul was dissolved and on the next day Family of Mary took over the management of the monastery in Nové Hrady. From that day on the monastery has a new name:
Monastery of The Divine Mercy.