This article deals with the ritual structure of the Ancient Regime's economy by analyzing two urban institutions in Lodi (Spanish Lombardy): the Ospedale maggiore and the biggest brotherhood within the city, the so-called «Incoronata». Our analysis focuses on how annuities were used to build foundations of masses, some free, others incorporated in benefices and chaplaincies. This process created a real ritual economy whose financial and religious aspects ended up supporting each other while becoming interchangeable. Through the analysis of some well-documented inheritances, this article stresses the variety of strategies that local elite families carried out towards the "pia loca" of the city. The benefactors were indeed usually exploiting local institutions to legitimate their annuities, which were very often based on uncertain rights. Explicitly connecting public and private debts to worship was an efficient way to both set up a reliable payment system and formulate a political strategy.