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Divine Providence Hospital promoters and benefactors

The Misericórdia of Vila Real, the main promoter of the construction of the Hospital over the 19th century, took the necessary steps to implement an audacious project, considering the dimension of the Institution. Among the various initiatives taken to build the hospital, it should be highlighted the effort of its benefactors, whom from the earliest days of its founding will provide an essential support for its implementation.

The first figure to highlight is Francisco da Silveira Pinto da Fonseca Teixeira (1763-1821), the 1st count of Amarante. A distinguished officer during the Peninsular War, he was the military commander of Trás-os-Montes, and in this function he provided important services to the new Hospital, ordering its construction. It was also because of his interference that the archbishop of Braga, friar Miguel da Madre de Deus, not only contributed financially for the new hospital, but also helped obtaining near the Pope the authorization for the incomes of an existing legacy to be applied in the treatment of the poor admitted to the Hospital.

In the list of benefactors also stood out the brothers Francisco and José Rodrigues de Freitas, who, in 1820, donated to the Hospital all the properties and assets they had in their farms in Alvações do Corgo and Vila Alva, as well as their houses in Cano Velho. Luís de Sousa Vilela and his wife Mariana Margarida, and the sisters Ana Eufrásia Rocha and Francisca Teresa Margarida da Rocha, all four from Vila Real, also left important contributions, together with the help of many other benefactors and to several donations that the Hospital was able to collect, as its assistance activities were consolidated.

It is important to remind that the Brotherhood tried to preserve the memory of its most important benefactors through painting, a practice that became common in the Misericórdia of Vila Real throughout the 19th century and that continued into the following century, which now constitutes a precious movable heritage.