House and Chapel of the College of Jesuits Sugar Mill and Plantation
Campos dos Goitacazes, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The lands of the college estate were donated to the Jesuits in 1648 by Salvador Correia de Sá e Benevides, the Governor of Rio de Janeiro at the time. Initially the Jesuits did not have a fixed residence on the estate. It was not until 1690, following conflicts in the region, that they began building the house. In the same year, Father Pedro Leão, a native of Rio de Janeiro, and Brother Lourenço Gonçalves, originally from Porto, were in charge of the work that lasted until at least 1716. The College sugar plantation played a paramount role in the Portuguese occupation of the region. It was the main source of income for the College of Rio de Janeiro. With the Jesuits’ expulsion from Brazil in 1759, the estate was auctioned and purchased by the Colonel of the Militia Joaquim Vicente dos Reis. The building follows the typical quadrangular floor plan of Jesuit schools and houses. The house and church were built of 70cm-thick brick masonry. The doors and windows have stone frames on the ground floor and wooden frames on the first floor. The medallion on the church pediment indicates the dates of alterations carried out in 1803 and 1934, which must have established the present-day appearance of the façade. Being the subject of litigation between the State and the former owners, the complex fell into ruins in the 1980s. It underwent profound restoration work in the 1990s in order to turn it into the headquarters of the School of Cinema of the North Fluminense University. Unfortunately it was not possible to recover the chancel’s precious altar in the Portuguese national style, a work attributed to Brother Lourenço Gonçalves.