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Zeal for Tradition &
Efficient Economic Production

Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
slar de marqueza


This long façade constitutes an enormous rectangle which, in the regularity of its lines and the simplicity of its figure, could be considered banal with the uniform windows and doors that run from one end to the other. However, the fine iron work on the balconies, the imaginative design of the light fixtures, and a ceremonial and festive atmosphere that permeates the whole, not only prevent the cold aspect of monotony, but forms with it a harmonious and delightful contrast.

The strength, clarity and consistency of that which is logical, coherent and simple combine agreeably with the fragility, lightness and fantasy of the genre of pomp and sophistication that shines on its façade.

It is not hard to imagine in this mansion the movements of a life both serious and joyful, in the traditional regularity of its ordinary days and the noble and joyous character of its feast days.

Passing under its thresholds, shining prestigiously in its salons or standing on its balconies, we can imagine high Brigadiers and Prelates, Marquesas and Magistrates, provincial Presidents and State Councilors, while delicacies and drinks on large silver platters are served and a discreet hum of voices fills the air, over which hover perfumes and glittering jewels and decorations.

*

Where does one find this mansion – so different from the Cyclopean buildings of the great centers of contemporary Brazil? In some quiet corner of the Northeast? In the traditional countryside of Minas Gerais or the State of Rio? The truth is far from this. This mansion, whose façade has been carefully restored by its owner, is in the very center of São Paulo and communicates an elevated spiritual and cultural note to an environment usually dominated by the dark brutality of the modern "struggle for life."

It is the manor house in the former Carmo Street, today Roberto Simonsen Street, which once belonged to the Marquesa dos Santos and her husband, Brigadier General Rafael Tobias de Aguia, and, later, became the property of the Bishop of São Paulo, serving as the Palace Episcopal until the late Archbishop Duarte Leopoldo e Silva changed his residence to St. Luís Street.

*

patio

Do not think that some religious institution or a family of the high nobility conserves this legitimately valuable house for São Paulo. To a business that is strictly economical falls the authentic and unusual merit of preserving this building in a place where mentalities exclusively turned to profit would usually conceive only the presence of a hulking and lucrative skyscraper.

The São Paulo Gas Services Company maintains its offices there today [in the 1960s], and does so with a such zeal for tradition that it also conserves this tranquil and charming courtyard, in which its directors and employees can gaze and rest their spirit in the midst of their daily work.

With this, the Gas Company gives a luminous example of how an efficient and active participation in economic production does not prevent the cultivation of spiritual values and the zeal for tradition.


Museum

In the 1990s the manor house was fully restored and became a city museum, preserving many items of the Marquesa (left), a grand salon (center) & the entranceway (right)



Catolicismo n. 190 - October 1966
Posted May 6, 2016

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