Santa Casa da Misericórdia

The Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Macau, location in Macau.

Santa Casa da Misericórdia is a Portuguese charity whose mission is to treat and support the sick and the disabled, as well as assist the “exposed” - newborns abandoned in the institution-. It was founded in Lisbon in 1498 by Queen Leonor of Portugal [1]. It declares itself to be a Catholic lay brotherhood and to work through 14 Works of Mercy, seven of a spiritual nature: to teach the humble, to give good advice, to "correct" with charity those who do wrong, to console those who suffer, to pardon those who offend us, to suffer patiently, to pray for the living and for the deceased; and seven of a corporeal nature: to free the enslaved (captive) and to visit the imprisoned, to heal and assist the ill, to clothe the naked, to give food to the hungry , to give drink to the thirsty, to shelter travelers (pilgrims), and to bury the dead.[2] All works have foundations in Christian doctrine, as in the biblical texts of the Gospel of St. Matthew and the Epistles of St. Paul and other doctors of the Catholic Church, or come from traditions of ancient peoples that were incorporated into Christianity. To do this, the fellowship often does not need to have a physical institution, enforcing the fourteen works on the streets, in prisons, etc.

The institution dates back to the foundation, in 1498, of the Holy House of Mercy of Lisbon,[3] by Queen D. Leonor. Recently made a widow by the death of her husband, Dom João II, began to dedicate herself intensely to the sick, poor, orphans, prisoners and artists and sponsored the founding of the Holy House, establishing the world's first legitimate NGO at a time when it would be unthinkable the existence of a social institution that declared itself lay and non-governmental. The Holy House of Mercy operations were overseen by 30 noblemen and 30 laymen in charge of executing the "agreement" (comitment) of the Mercy of Lisbon [4]

At the encouragement of King Manuel I of Portugal, official founder of the institution, and his successors, similar organizations were created in many other cities and towns of Portugal and of the former Portuguese Empire, like in Brazil, Macau and even in Nagasaki, Japan.[5] The performance of these institutions had two phases: the first one comprised the period from the mid-eighteenth century to 1837, of a charitable nature; the second,from 1838 to 1940, with concerns of a philanthropic nature.

In Brazil, the Brotherhood of the Holy House of Mercy emerged in the colonial period, settling in Olinda, in the Pernambuco Captaincy, in 1539.

The União das Misericórdias Portuguesas (UMP) (in Portuguese) provides additional information on the Misericórdias in Portugal and throughout the world. Currently, there are 388 active Misericórdias in Portugal and over 2000 similar organizations in Brazil.[6]

Other locations of the institution [ edit ]

References [ edit ]

  1. ^ The Santa Casa da Misericórdia in Portugal. Accessed 9 August 2016
  2. ^ Fidalgos and Philanthropists: The Santa Casa Da Misericórdia of Bahia 1550-1755. Google books. Accessed 9 August 2016
  3. ^ Santa Casa da Misericórdia of Lisbon: Five hundred years of philanthropy. Accessed 9 August 2016
  4. ^ Compromisso da Misericórdia de Lisboa.
  5. ^ Website Macau Holy House of Mercy. Accessed 9 August 2016
  6. ^ União das Misericórdias Portuguesas (UMP): Accessed 23 April 2019

External links [ edit ]

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