One of the first things that I wanted to do as soon as I arrived in Terceira Island was to visit Vila de São Sebastião, where many of my ancestors lived, including my great grandfather, Francisco Machado Drummond, who immigrated to Brazil, with 13 years old, in 1874.
The first days I spent at the island the weather didn’t cooperate too much. It was cold, windy and always raining. I wanted to walk where my ancestors walked, and that wasn’t helping me in my endeavor. One day, I decided to stop the car anyway and visit the Igreja Matriz, which is situated in the middle of the Vila of São Sebastião, and was really significant in the lives of my family.
|Igreja Matriz de São Sebastião, Terceira Island|
|Manoelino portal and I|
|Late medieval frescoes|
In this Igreja Matriz, all the women from my maternal lineage were married, and most of them were baptized as well. Therefore, this place was beyond just a tourist visit, it was something that I knew was going to touch my heart. My mtDNA was speaking higher and I could felt I wasn’t there as a simple tourist, looking at one more “gem” of the architectural history of Azores; everything that was surrounding me was enticing. Being able to enter the doorway where my ancestors walked through; having eyes to appreciate what they had appreciated in the centuries before was very moving. I prayed, I made the sign of the cross, I kneel down; transitory catholic gestures that took place in the centuries before, but all coming back to my imagination, taking me in a tunnel of time, while I was doing it.
|The main Altar where marriages were celebrated.|
While in Terceira Island, I came back a few times to Igreja Matriz de São Sebastião to have a closer look to its architecture and to keep fresh the great sensation that I felt before. I have great memories from that visit which I try to reconstruct with my heart, documents and history I have been researching on my Azorean family.