The portrait of São Francisco will be on display at his homonymous convent in Braga, which is undergoing rehabilitation. This fundraising, carried out by the civic project Amigos do Convento, had contributions from donors from 14 countries.
A painting of Saint Francis in oil on canvas (45x60cm) destined for the walls of the Church of S. Francisco, in the parish of Real, in Braga, is the first feat of “Amigos do Convento”, a civic project created in October last year to help revitalize the monastic complex of the Convento de S. Francisco, which is being rehabilitated by the Municipality. In all, 5100 people from 14 countries contributed to the work created by Portuguese artist Rúben Ferreira.
“More than seeing the money gathered [2500 euros] briefly, what was intended was for the community to get involved around the initiative, to make it their own and to cherish it, in a logic of reinforcing the feeling of belonging and a sign of social cohesion”, says Cláudia Sousa, one of the members of the group , remembering that each person could only donate an amount of up to 50 cents. “It was hoped that the work would not have the special mark of anyone, but rather the stamp of all those who donated to it in the same way, this so that it would be born free of any shackles”, justifies the Braga.
According to “Amigos do Convento”, the work is the result of donations that arrived from 14 countries, and in Portugal alone, citizens from 74 municipalities participated. The work also had “the apostolic blessing” of Pope Francis, promoters say. During the presentation of the painting, next Tuesday, October 4th, at 8.45 pm, a document with the names of all the donors will be signed and delivered to the parish of Real, where the event will take place. “There were few who wanted to remain anonymous”, reveals Cláudia Sousa.
The works on the Convento de S. Francisco started at the beginning of the year and will represent an investment of 2.5 million euros, of which 850 thousand euros will be supported by community funds and the remaining amount assumed by the Municipality, through the European Investment Bank.
The rehabilitation project foresees that the monument will be open to visitors, with a circuit that crosses the mausoleum – a national monument since 1944 -, the church and the sacristy, whose classified assets include a seventeenth-century chair and a reliquary. On the third floor, a Documentation Center in the fields of archaeology, architecture and history will be installed. It will also house a specialized library and the support center for the convent by the Archeology unit of the University of Minho, which will ensure the educational service and the updated production of content to complement the visit circuit.