Franciscan monks came from Bela Krajina across the Gorjanci mountains to Novo mesto in the 15th century after having fled the Turkish attacks. In 1477, they bought a piece of land with a great help of Mrs. Elizabeta Snopčan, and built their monastery next to the church of Saint Leonard.
The monastery burnt down in 1664, but both the church and the monastery were rebuilt several times since that time. The boarding school was built in 1696. The monastery library, built in the late 15th century, is the oldest in Novo mesto, having a collection of over 12.000 books, including the precious incunabula. There are many paintings by the painter Metzinger in this monastery, dating back to 1726.
From 1746 to 1870, the Franciscan monks provided a great cultural and educational impact to the city with their Gymnasium; its tradition has now passed on to the Gymnasium of Novo mesto.