Visit

History

The Monastery of Saint Clare was founded around 1490 by Jõao Gonçalves da Câmara, son of Zarco and the second captain of Funchal. He made it his mission to receive unmarried daughters of upper-class Madeiran families, who dedicated themselves to religion.

The institution became one of the most important ones on the archipelago, the parish counted 200 novices and their entrusted ones. Other than the property in Funchal, it also owned big agricultural territories.

The monastery was used for almost 350 years, in 1834 the Reforma geral eclestiástica by King Pedro IV came into force and no more novices could be accepted. The last Clarisse of the monastery, Maria Amália do Patrocínio, died in 1890. Six years later the building was given to the Franciscan Sisters Missionárias de Maria, who still own the building. It is currently used as a school.

Visits

The tours take about one hour and are accompanied by one of our guides. They take place Tuesday at 10am and Thursday at 3pm.

The Visit can be done in English, Portuguese, French, German, Spanish and Polish. For scheduling your visit, you can contact the shops of the Students Union, being Naturalmente Português (1st floor in the La Vie Shopping Center) and Gaudeamus (Rua dos Ferreiros, Administration of the University of Madeira), call us (+351 291 705 060) or send a mail to visit@aauma.pt.

Circuit

Entering the monastery, you can admire the Spanish Arab style church door, as well as the impressive spire, adorned with Portuguese faience. In the entrance hall, two Portuguese faience pictures can be found next to a 17th century chapel, the chapel of annunciation, which show Francis of Assisi and Saint Clare of Assisi.

The lower choir stalls, reserved for the older novices, are adorned with angels. One of the seats is topped with a crowned angels head, this used to be the chair of the orders head-sister. You can also see an altar piece showing Jesus on the cross, it combines painting and sculpture.

On the eastern wall you find a huge barred window, through which the novices attended the church service and received the communion.

Of all the chapels, the one of the lost Jesus is the most well-known. The wooden statue of Jesus dates back to the 17th century and used to be integrated into a bigger arrangement (with the virgin Mary, Joseph and Anthony of Lisbon), which has disappeared. Nowadays, the statue is dressed in embroidery dresses made by the Franciscan nuns.

The convents cloister shows gothic arches, which, among other parts of the monastery, had been restored in the 20th century. Along the cloister we find several chapels, decorated with Portuguese paintings and faience of several centuries.

When founding the Monastery, João Gonçalves da Câmara turned the Chapel of Our Lady of Conception into a church. In the inside, more Portuguese faience can be found, painted in the so-called Saint Clare’s Style. Furthermore, the church hosts baroque altarpieces and tombstones of the first captains of Funchal.

The main altar was seriously damaged in the bombardments by a German submarine in 1917. It was completely rebuilt and redesigned in the 1930s.

After visiting the Monastery, the visitor can learn more about the surrounding neighbourhood, its history and buildings, such as the Quinta das Cruzes, the Hotel Reid’s Santa Clara, the Palace of the Duke of Calçada, the São-Pedro-Palace or the historic bakery Felisberta.

The convent was in use for more than 400 years. During the eclesiastic reform and his regency on the Azores, Duke Pedro ordered in 1833 that no religious institution could accept any more novices. Furthermore, all young novice women had to leave the convents.

The visit will end with a short tour around the historic neighborhood of São Pedro

Imagens


Contact

The tours take about one hour and are accompanied by one of our guides. They take place Tuesday at 10am and Thursday at 3pm.

The Visit can be done in English, Portuguese, French, German, Spanish and Polish. For scheduling your visit, you can contact the shops of the Students Union, being Naturalmente Português (1st floor in the La Vie Shopping Center) and Gaudeamus (Rua dos Ferreiros, Administration of the University of Madeira), call us (+351 291 705 060) or send a mail to visit@aauma.pt.