Dr. José Tomás de Sousa Martins (1843-1897) was a doctor and pharmacist renowned for his work amongst the poor in Lisbon. After his death, a secular cult has arisen around him in which he is thanked for ‘miraculous’ cures. Born in Alhandra he moved to Lisbon in his youth, and qualified in pharmacy (1864) and medicine (1866). He then practiced as a doctor in the Pena area of Lisbon, specialising in the treatment of tuberculosis. His work was entirely on a secular basis, but he was noted in his life for the care he gave to the poor. In 1897, realising that he has contracted tuberculosis himself and could only expect a painful death, he committed suicide.
Yet since the memorial was erected in 1904 at Campo dos Mártires da Pátria outside the main Faculty of Medicine, it has become the focal point for a religious devotion to Dr. Sousa Martins. People who come here believe that by praying to him and asking for his intervention, they will be cured.
After more than 100 years after his life, people still pray to the doctor and burn candles, to ask or thank him for medical cure.
It’s quite amazing to see how devoted people are to a dead doctor….
Those who have been healed offer their gratitude in the way of marble plaques.
The foot of the statue is surrounded by marble plaques giving thanks to him for unexpected cures, candles burn and flowers are placed around the monument.
A little child’s picture on a marble plaque… The veneration of dr. Sousa Martins was never recognized by the Catholic Church but it remains until nowadays.
Flowers, wax candles, and religious articles are for sale here. In the nearby lovely park is a small cafe “O Coreto’. Besides: this place is located on one of the 7 hills of Lisbon, the view from here is really wonderful.
Candles with dr Sousa Martins’ picture are for sale in lots of small shops in Lisbon.