The “poor house“ Saint Sebastian

In the early fourteenth century, Jean Quinta, the priest of the village, bequeathed a property to the people of Vinça to have a new “poorhouse” built, the existing one being too small to meet the needs of the community. The “poor house“ accommodated pilgrims as well as people who were destitute; it did not have a medical function. However, during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the institution began to provide care for the people who were ill in an ambience which respected the Christian values of charity and solidarity. Throughout the nineteenth century and into the first half of the twentieth century it continued to maintain its responsibility and care for the infirm people. When the iron mines of “La Pinosa” in Velmanya were active, injured minors were taken care of at the “poor house”. It only had 11 beds and conditions were very precarious. In 1905 the law which separated the Church and the State dealt a fatal blow to the establishment. Its doors were closed for good in 1955; it became a Youth Hostel which operated until the end of the 1970’s.

The chapel adjoining the poorhouse is dedicated to Saint Sebastian, the patron saint of plague victims; it was built in 1459. A novena takes place every year from January 20th. In the choir of the chapel there is an altarpiece and many panels on the side walls testify to the generosity of those who made donations to the “poorhouse”. Above the entrance door, there is a niche which hosts a statue of the Virgin, it was installed in 1529, at the end of the Great Plague.