Origins of the monks
Despite the ongoing relationship between the monastery and the ranks of power, there were not many noblemen among its ranks; most of the monks were of rural origin, generally from the area surrounding the monastery. Thus, during the 18th Century sixty five percent came from the same district, and the towns of Pego, Gandia and Oliva provided the greatest number of devotees. The number of monks varied around 35, with an average of 6 entering the monastery every 7 years.
Young men used to enter the monastery when they were between 13 and 20 years of age, and stayed for approximately 40 years. They were usually the sons of labourers and well-off families who were able to afford themselves the luxury of having one family member less for agricultural work. These young men had to fulfil a series of requirements before being accepted into the community; they had to contribute a sum of money, know Latin and have good eyesight and voices.
But monks were not the only ones living in the monastery; there were also servants and lay brothers, the latter of which wore the habit of the order but did not profess their faith.
Laypeople also played an important role in the life of the monastery; advocates, delegates, veterinarians, ministers and guards were all vital to the proper operation of the monastic cogs.