Convent of Saint Francis and Church of Saint Mary Magdalene
Marechal Deodoro, Alagoas, Brazil
Construction of the Franciscan convent of Saint Mary Magdalene began in 1684, with the sleeping quarters being built first, then the church, whose chancel was finished in 1689. The nave’s foundations were laid in 1692, while the side chapel (pertaining to the Araújo de Lima family) was registered by deed in 1709. The very simply arranged cloister must have been built soon afterwards, as there are accounts attesting to construction of the west side extension beginning in 1719 and the upper floor in 1723. The church’s current façade results from a late 18th-century renovation (1784-93). The three ground floor arches and one side one (walled-inbut still visible) remain from the original configuration, which probably dates from 1710. The façade’s second and third levels (windows and pediment, respectively) result from work undertaken at the end of the century. The sacristy has kept its original location next to the cloister. Standing out inside the church are two carved and gilded wooden altars from the early 17th century in an advanced state of deterioration. Next to the main church is the more modest Church of the Third Order, probably built around the same time as the main church’s façade was altered. Typologically, it follows the isolated church proposal for the Brotherhood of the Third Order established in Salvador; from the formal standpoint, it results from a simplification of the church of the First Order.