Just across the street from our hotel was a huge monastery called Santa Catarina. It was for women only and had room for 400 in addition to servants, children etc. I had to revise my opinion about monasteries as this had apartments where widows with children could live and that were owned by families.
They had this sign asking for silence, but as our female guide said: It should be silence, but what can you expect from 400 women?
The apartments had their own kitchen, which with our standard is primitive, but was sufficient for food preparations at the time.
The water came from a well and had a special way of serving many people a the same time.
The water flowed down the central trough and could easily be diverted into to separate vessels lined up on the sides.
The apartments had a fairly good standard, not the austerity I thought was normal in a monastery. A very interesting visit!