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Misericórdia's current Bylaws (1992)

 What changes have been introduced in comparison to the bylaws of 1865? In accordance with the laws of 1979 and 1983, the brotherhood of the Misericórdia is defined as "an association of devotees constituted in the legal and canonical orders, with the purpose of practicing social solidarity", with "legal civil and canonical personality and recognized as a private institution for social solidarity”.

It proposes to cooperate with other public and private entities, and with local authorities and population in the field of social work, including cultural and recreational activities. Its main ends are to support families, especially children and the elderly, by creating and maintaining retirement homes, day care centres, nursery schools, kindergartens, and home care services.

The maximum amount of brothers (240 in the previous bylaws) was eliminated, but their social profile remains largely the same, although both economic and professional references were abolished. The only obligation was the payment of a monthly fee of at least 500$00. Their birthplace, previously limited to Vila Real, is now extended to those living in the municipality or somehow related to it. And for the first time in its history, the bylaws refer to "individuals of both genders”, thus opening its doors to women.

The internal organization of the Brotherhood remained the same, with a General Assembly, an Executive Board and an Audit Committee. But the term of office was extended to three-year mandates, with the elections being held in December. The management bodies can only be elected for two consecutive terms, and their members are legally responsible for any wrongdoing while in office.

The General Assembly consists of all the brothers and has its own Board.

The Executive Board consists of seven members – a provedor, a deputy provedor, a secretary, a treasurer and three other members – and it is responsible for managing and representing the Institution. The provedor supervises the administration of the Brotherhood, calling and chairing the meetings of the Board, and representing the Brotherhood both in court and elsewhere.

The Audit Committee oversees the enforcement of the law and bylaws, giving its opinion on the annual report, accounts and budget.

In the field of religion and spiritual care, there is a private chaplain that celebrates the Sunday Mass for the Brotherhood, the annual festivities of the Visitation in honour of the patroness of the Misericórdia, the liturgical rites during the Holy Week, the Masses for the souls of the deceased brothers, the annual ceremonies, in November, for the souls of the deceased brothers and benefactors, among other ceremonials that the Misericórdia is in charge with.

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