The Museu de São Roque first opened to the public in 1905, located in the former Professed House of the Society of Jesus, a religious house adjoining the Church of São Roque. This church had been founded in the second half of the 16th century, as the first church of the Society of Jesus in Portugal. It kept the original name of the former shrine of São Roque, which existed in the same location. Its interior show a great and rich variety of artworks, namely azulejos, (coloured tiles), paintings, sculptures, inlaid marbles, gilt woodworks, reliquaries, etc, all of which belong nowadays to Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa [The Holy House of Mercy works]. In this church stands out the famous side Chapel of St. John the Baptist, commissioned by King John V of Portugal to Italian artists, and built in Rome between 1744 and 1747, which represents in Portugal a unique example of the late-roman baroque art.
The museum exhibits one of the most important collections of religious art in Portugal, originating from the Church of São Roque as well as from the Professed House of the Society of Jesus. This artistic heritage was donated to the Misericórdia de Lisboa by D. José I, in 1768, after the expulsion of the Society of Jesus from the national territory. Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa is a secular institution of social and philanthropic work with over 500 years helping the city population through a wide range of social and health services.
Highly prized collections of artworks as well as liturgical vestments make up the art treasure of Museu de São Roque, worth visiting next to the church.