Museum of Sacred Art

Keeping the oldest image in Brazil of Nossa Senhora da Conceição, by John Gonçalo Fernandes (recognized by IPHAN) , dated 1560, the Sacred Art Museum  (MASS), opened in 1981,  is located in the old building of São Benedito  Monastery, whose  construction began in 1644 and since 1725 it still keeps its current form. The Chapel of Nossa Senhora do Desterro , dated 1640, is part of the architectural complex.
            
The museum, with a collection of about 600 pieces, presents several exhibitions; long-term, temporary and intinerant ones. The Main Hall has wood sculptures and baked clay pieces, made between the XVI and XVIII centuries. Among the works, the image of Santa Catarina de Alexandria stands out, dated about 1540, which belonged to the first chapel built in Santos Village.
            
In the collection, there are works of Benedito Calixto, Gentil Garcez, José Patrício da Silva Manso, Marino Del Favero, Guiomar Fagundes, among other artists. The collection of images known as 'paulistinhas' refers to religious folk art and was widely used in home shrines and by the “bandeirantes”, who in their journeys used to carry small sculptures as amulets.
            
The monastery, which for centuries was used as residence to the Benedictine monks, has three floors and consists of church, sacristy, cloister cells (rooms), halls and main halls, among others. The building also housed victims of epidemics that infested the city of Santos, especially in 1874, and worked as a boarding school, from 1958 to 1968 for young russian refugees.