The Order was established in Portugal for the first time in Tarouca in 1144, former Benedictine monastery.
All Cistercian monasteries of the twelfth century changed their observance, only Alcobaça was founded again. During the twelfth century the most important foundations and numerous are the nuns: Lorvão, Cells, Arouca and St. Benedict of Castris, protected by princesses queens Teresa, Sancha and Mafalda, and Odivelas all dependent on Alcobaça. During this period there was in Portugal more powerful order, mainly due to the wealth of Alcobaça who was also the intellectual and artistic center of the Order.
Alcobaça Monastery Source
The reform efforts renewed at the beginning of the sixteenth century, during which lived Fr. João Claro and founded the women’s monasteries of Tavira and Portalegre and the College of the Holy Spirit in Coimbra and called Benedictines of Montserrat to reform Alcobaça. The reform failed to promote the separation of Alcobaça, favored by Cardinal Alfonso and Cardinal Henry. The Cistercian then showed great vitality founding several monasteries for monks: the College of Conception, and the Monastery of Exile in Lisbon and nuns, Mocambo in Lisbon and Tabosa gave great emphasis to historical studies, which were notable all authors of Monarchia Lusitana . In the eighteenth century come into decay and are extinct in 1834, followed by subsequent extinction of women’s monasteries.
The thought of Joachim of Fiore, one Calabrian Cistercian and millenarian philosopher, had a profound impact in Portugal, being in the cult of origin to the Holy Spirit, still very present in the Azores and in areas of Azorean expansion in the Americas, and influencing the thinking of Father Antonio Vieira (the Fifth Empire) and giving a philosophical basis to Sebastianism.
The existence of a watercourse or lake is a prerequisite for the establishment of this order. So it is not surprising that many of the Cistercian convents have names associated with water, such as Fontaine-Guérard, Fontenay, Fontenelle in France or in England Fountain.