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What good is it if people possess the whole world, but lose their very selves in the process?


Feb 4 - Feast of St.John De Britto
St.John de Britto, a young Portuguese nobleman, felt a strong call to become a Jesuit missionary to India. Surmounting the many obstacles to that dream, he merited a martyr's crown in the Indian subcontinent.

John entered the Society of Jesus when only 15. He was so successful as a student that after his priestly ordination his Jesuit superiors tried to detain him in Portugal as a teacher. Winning out against the academics, the young priest set sail for Goa, India, in 1673. He was to spend the rest of his life in India, all the more successful as a missionary because of his wholehearted devotion to his task.

The Jesuits who initiated the apostolate in southern India had discovered that the Indian people would not give them a hearing unless approached in terms of their own culture. Father John therefore not only learned the Hindu language and literature; he went among the nation as a guru (teacher) and holy man (sanyasi), wearing the garb of that office, abstaining from meat, and respecting, as far as he could, the social customs of the Indian caste system.

While the Jesuits were widely welcomed because of these accommodations to the native life style, their "Madura Mission" was a most difficult assignment. The climate was trying, travel was painful, and Father de Britto himself was physically frail. Furthermore, South India was politically unsettled. This social disturbance made it possible for the fanatical pagan priesthood to interfere, even violently, with the work of the Jesuits and their catechists. Once, for instance, de Britto and some of his native associates were arrested and commanded to honor the pagan god Siva. When they refused, they were subjected for several days to cruel tortures....... more

The Saint was sentenced to death, due to his preachings, by an Indian king, the Setupati of Marava, in 28 January 1693, and executed the following 4 February 1693. In a letter he wrote to his superior, Father Francisco Laynes, he stated that "When guilt it's a virtue, to suffer it's glory."

More links:

Novena to Our Lady Undoer of Knots
Unfailing Novena To The Virgin Mary Untier of Knots
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