Convento de São Francisco
The construction of the Convent of São Francisco in the Village of Velas, São Jorge Island, dates back to the 17th century (1642), reign of King John IV of Portugal, as well as of the Church of N. Sra. da Conceição which integrates the convent. It was a convent held by the Franciscan Friars Order. This order was found by São Francisco de Assis, in Italy, in 1209. Its members, according to the founder’s spirit, should own no possessions, forced to live in poverty, adopting an extremely simple life, preaching and offering examples of humility and devotion. In the church, the cornices in volcanic lava and the aisle’s gilded wood are highlighted. The pulpit includes an image of the patron saint, N. Sra. da Conceição, from the 18th century (1771) and an image of Santo António. The main altar is a baroque construction. It also shows archivolts and Solomonic columns. It underwent significant alterations with the extinction of the religious orders in 1834.
The Convent of São Francisco was, firstly, yielded to Misericórdia, which turned it into an hospital. In 1871, the building was transferred to the city council for the housing of the secretariat and male primary school. The part which held the old Misericórdia’s hospital, after 1849, served as a military facility.
In the 20th century, the building was transformed into a health centre, as currently.