"History is a storehouse of human experience and as such an irreplaceable educator. For sure knowledge of the past lets us draw upon earlier human experience, facilitating our leap into the future with a sense of ease and confidence." Fr Vijay Kumar Prabhu, SJ in"The Burning Bush: The History of Karnataka Jesuit Province"by Fr Devadatta Kamath, SJ

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Life in History

 The Karnataka Jesuit Province, originally the "The Mangalore Mission" today comprises the whole of the territory of Karnataka State. Started in 1878 with an international group of Jesuits from Italy and Germany, in a small town of Mangalore, the Jesuits continue to follow in the footsteps of the early Fathers and Brothers who gave themselves to the service of faith, education, health, language and happiness. They made our land richer by establishing educational institutions, hospitals, parishes, retreat houses, etc. The Jesuits in Karnataka continue to strive and to live the spirituality in word and action taught by the founder St Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) which inspired the first Fathers and Brothers who set their foot on our soil.  The founding Fathers and Brothers even though being foreigners not only learnt our mother tongues Konkani, Tulu, Kannada, Tamil, Hindi, etc., but also ate our food and integrated themselves in our society as any one of us. 

"The mission territory inherited by the Jesuits from the Carmelites and called Mangalore Mission comprised then what would later constitute the dioceses of Mangalore and Calicut and later still Kannur too. Having laboured in this territory for nearly three-quarters of a century they would disengage themselves from a part of it called Malabar and move over to the rest of Karnataka and even to North East." Fr Devadatta Kamath, SJ The author of "The Burning Bush: The History of the Karnataka Province."

 Their labours, both in their successes and failures, spread through 144 years are what this web blog contains.

Map of Karnataka, where Jesuits are working

The depository of Karnataka Jesuit archives continues to gather material from Jesuits and their institutions as a way to keep the memory of our predecessors and institutions alive. With its thorough record maintenance and systematic organization, the experience of the past continues to inspire the present and future generation of Jesuits and their collaborators in striving to bring Glory to God in all things. You are always welcome to contact us if you would like to get the history of our Fathers and Brothers better known to others.

Karnataka Jesuit Province archives contain a very interesting and resourceful depository of handwritten manuscripts of Jesuits like Fr Angelo Maffei (1844-1899), Fr Augustus Diamanti (1848-1919), the handwritten consult meetings from 1880, the novitiate diaries, letters to Rome and Jesuit Superior General's letters to the Mission Superior of Mangalore since 1879, contracts with various institutions and persons, photographs like the visit of the Diwans of Mysore Kingdom to the St Aloysius College, Mangalore, edifying letters and memoirs written by the early Jesuits of Mangalore Mission to the Venice-Milan province Jesuits, the books written by the Jesuits of the Karnataka Province, Historia Domus of all the Jesuit communities, publications of various institutions and apostolates, correspondence with various dioceses and provinces of the Society, philately and so on. 

The archives also contain unpublished works of many Jesuits like Fr Devadatta Kamath's II part of Burning Bush with four volumes, Fr Francis Rebello's theatrical drama, etc. Karnataka Jesuit Province which is 144 years old, preserves in its archives all material and matters connected with its works, members and communities. Hence, every individual Jesuit, community, apostolate and its ventures are recorded and preserved in the archives. It is hoped that such a collection of material will help in preserving the memory of the past, assist in writing the history of the province and communities and enable the researchers to carry out their academic works. 

Until recently, Karnataka Jesuit Province treasured artifacts collected by many Jesuits including Fr Lawrence D’Souza (1932-2009) and postal stamps and coins by Brother Gabriel Ferruccio, SJ (1939-2013) and Fr Alexis P. Menezes (1922-2002). Now, most of it has been donated to the upcoming Museum of St Joseph's College, Bangalore and St Joseph's School CBSE, Bangalore and St Aloysius College Museum, Mangalore. 


Contact details are below.

- Olvin Veigas, SJ
In Charge of the Archives of Karnataka Jesuit Province. 

Provincialate of the Jesuits in Karnataka
Loyola Mandir, 
96 Lavelle Road, 3rd Cross, 
Bengaluru - 560001.

Br Benedict Rosario SJ (1948-2024)


Br Benedict Rosario, 76 years, 59 years in the Society of Jesus, went to his eternal abode early this morning (13 January). The funeral Mass will be at Divine Mercy Church, (Fatima Retreat House), Mangalore at 3 PM tomorrow Sunday (14 January).

Br Benedict Rosario was a docile, diligent and simple Jesuit who was the affable with conscientious awareness of the need for availability, always friendly and cheerful. He dedicated his life for the poor in the field of Technical Education.

He was Principal, Director of Technical Schools, Minister and Prefect of Health at different places. His services were not confined to one of ministry or place; they extended beyond the borders of our province.

Remembering Brother Benna:

Fr Melwyn Mendonca, SJ

Br Benna was a gentle and humble Jesuit known for his amiable nature and conscientious commitment. He maintained a friendly and cheerful demeanor while dedicating his life to the underprivileged. I had the privilege of working closely with him during his tenure as the Finance Officer of St Aloysius PU College, Mangalore. Our friendship blossomed into shared visits to each other's homes and beyond.

Fr Francis Menezes, SJ
Br Benna was a great lover of the poor, his work in ITI both in MSJ and Bijapur has been great. May God grant him eternal rest. We miss you dear Benna.

Fr Henry Saldanha SJ
Bro Benna was a great asset to out ITIs. I have personally witnessed his dedication and love for the poor at Loyola ITI at MSJ. May his soul rest in peace

Monday, November 14, 2022

Fr Victor D'Silva (1942-2022)

Fr Victor D’Silva, 80 years, 62 years in the Society of Jesus went to his eternal abode early this morning (03 November). The funeral Mass followed by burial will be at MSJ at 3 PM tomorrow (04 November).

Fr Victor D’Silva (80), is the son of the late John Baptist D'Silva and Annie Mary D'Silva (Bhattakody), brother of the late Walter D'Silva, uncle of Julia, Marceline, Sr Laveena UMI, Fr Ajay D'Silva SJ, Vijay and Sujay.

Father Victor D’Silva was a simple, childlike Jesuit, always friendly and cheerful. Whatever work the Superiors gave him, he readily accepted them and fulfilled his responsibilities with all his heart and soul. Mainly trained for the educational apostolate, Fr Victor was frequently called upon to shoulder responsibility as a formator, which he carried out to the satisfaction of all, both superiors and the formees. As a Headmaster of two different schools in the Province, he was known for his efficiency, constancy and administrative acumen. He made a difference in the lives of people through simple ways.   

Fr Henry Saldanha, SJ: Many Alumni at Hassan remember Fr Victor Dsilva as a great teacher and Headmaster. Here are some messages I received just now.

Dr Shivaprakash C K 1975 batch: For years, daily evening , we were playing basketball together along with Stanley Sir and Louis Rao Sir. I was visiting his hostel residence, every evening, after playing. He trained me in general knowledge also. I remember him forever. May his soul rest in peace in heavenly abode.

Shartchandra 1978 : great teacher and great personality 

Venkateshwar Sharma 1978 : he was a great Headmaster and a teacher. Great loss.

Mr Subramanya 1986 : ಒಂದು ನೆನಪು

ಫಾದರ್ ವಿಕ್ಟರ್ ಈ ಡಿ ಸಿಲ್ವ ರವರು ಅಪರೂಪದ ಮಹೋಪಾಧ್ಯಾಯರಾಗಿದ್ದರು ಅವರ ಕನ್ನಡ ನಮ್ಮ ಮನಸೂರೆಗೊಂಡಿತ್ತು ಹಾಗೆಯೇ ಅವರ ಮಾರಲ್ science ಕ್ಲಾಸ್ ತುಂಬಾ ಅಪರೂಪದಲ್ಲಿ ಅಪರೂಪ ನಮಗೆಲ್ಲ ಅವರೇ ರೋಲ್ ಮಾಡೆಲ್ ಆಗಿದ್ದರು ಅವರ ಆತ್ಮಕ್ಕೆ ಶಾಂತಿ ಸಿಗಲಿ.

Following comments were published at https://www.daijiworld.com/chan/obituaryDisplay?obituaryID=14729

Naveen Frank, Mangalore/Sharjah, Mon, Nov 07 2022

Fr Victor D’silva S.J was simplicity personified. A dedicated priest and a committed Jesuit. He was a close friend of my family. During the jackfruit season, Fr Victor would ensure that his brother bring a big sized jackfruit from their Mangalore home and give it to my father as he was very fond of it. I had visited him last, at Mount St Joseph , Bangalore where he was spending the evening of his life. He was still the same cordial person. Rest in peace Fr Victor. Until we meet again, enjoy heavenly bliss ! Naveen Frank Sharjah UAE

Tony D'Silva, Bondel, Mangalore, Sat, Nov 05 2022

Sad to hear the passing away of Fr. Victor. May he rest in Peace. Beside being a relative, I have known him as a friend and well wisher. An unassuming soul for all his accomplishments as a Jesuit. He was a scholar of Kannada. He was also deeply spiritual. I got to spend some time with him when he was on a sabbatical break and spent time in the U.S. My friends and me will never forget the wonderful time we had with him. My heartfelt condolences to his immediate family and friends and students, a few of whom were very fond of him.

Dr.Cajetan Coelho, Goa, IndiaFri, Nov 04 2022

Respectful farewell to Fr Victor. In Paradisum deducant te Angeli.

Denis Lasrado, Kankanady Mangalore, Thu, Nov 03 2022

Fr. Victor D'Silva was the Director of FRH during 2007-08.Very gentle and humble he was during his stay in Fathima Retreat House. May his noble soul rest in eternali.ce and let the perpetual light shine upon him.

Louis Dsilva Family, Bondel / Mangalore / USA Thu, Nov 03 2022

Sincere condolences to all family members on Fr. Victor's passing away. We pray for him and may Almighty grant him eternal rest and may his Soul Rest in Peace.

Dexter Joachim Saldanha, Meramajal/Omzoor / Mangalore, Thu, Nov 03 2022

Rest in Peace dear Fr Victor Dsilva SJ. You were a person with vast knowledge always with positive impact and compassionate. Heartfelt condolences to the family members and to provincial all Jesuit father's of Karnataka province.

Danny Dsouza, Marnamikatta, Thu, Nov 03 2022

Rest in peace Fr. Victor May the almighty God bless you and give you a reward of having you in heaven as you have served him and his mission in spreading the word of God

Roshan, Mangalore, Thu, Nov 03 2022

Rest In Peace Dear Fr. Victor D'Silva S.J. you were humble and a bunch of knowledge. I remember your positive impact on my life.

***

FR VICTOR EUGENE D’SILVA, SJ 

(23 AUGUST 1942 – 03 NOVEMBER 2022) 

We are all saddened by the sudden demise of our dear Fr Victor D’Silva. He suffered from a cerebral haemorrhage on the night of 2 November 2022 and, though rushed to hospital, he breathed his last in the early hours of 3 November. He was 80 years of age and 62 years a Jesuit. In his passing away, we have lost a warm friend, a zealous yet quiet priest, an earnest religious. 

Announcing the sad news of Victor’s death, Fr Jossie D’ Mello, our Socius wrote: “Fr Victor was a simple, childlike Jesuit, always friendly and cheerful. Whatever works the superiors gave him, he readily accepted them and fulfilled his responsibilities with all his heart and soul. Mainly trained for educational apostolate, Fr Victor was frequently called upon to shoulder responsibilities as a formator, which he carried out to the satisfaction of superiors and formees alike. As Headmaster of two different schools in the province, he was known for his efficiency, constancy and administrative acumen. He made a difference in the lives of people through simple ways”. 

Fr Victor was a spiritual powerhouse. Those of us who have had occasions to interact with him have been greatly impacted spiritually by him. He has not kept a record of the number of persons to whom he gave the Spiritual Exercises, the groups and communities to whom he gave recollection talks, individuals – lay or religious - who availed of his personal guidance and counseling. Neither has he kept a count of the Masses he celebrated, the inspiring homilies he delivered, the sacraments he administered. I recall with nostalgic admiration the stirring sermon he delivered on the day of my First Thanksgiving Mass 22 years ago. Fr Victor was way ahead of his time. He was a polyglot in his own style, master of Kannada, but quite conversant in Konkani, Tulu, Sanskrit, and English. He had numerous friends among people of other faiths, and was from time to time invited to participate in the ‘sarva dharma sammelana’ and to deliver lectures on the Christian faith and the Church’s teaching on inter-religious dialogue. 

Fr Victor lived a life of dignity and died in dignity. In the past six or seven years that he spent in the infirmary at Mount St Joseph, he chose to live like a hermit – speaking only when there was extreme necessity, not indulging in levity or laughter, keeping his cool even when instigated to break silence, not allowing himself to be provoked into irritation or anger. It is no wonder then that he chose to depart from this life causing the least bit of inconvenience to others. Nevertheless, he has left a void in our hearts. 

Fr Victor has left many pleasant impressions on his confreres, brothers or sisters, cousins, uncles or aunts, colleagues or subordinates. All found in him a loving friend and a compassionate priest. Many will remember his ready availability as a priest who blessed their wedding, baptized their children, buried their loved ones, and above all, prayed for them at the Eucharist. 

Victor had, like any of us, his faults and failures. Like St Paul (Rom 7:15), he was painfully aware of his spiritual dilemma. He would candidly share about them in our faith sharing sessions. These lacunae in no way hindered or blocked his longing for a life of perfection. If we humans didn’t mind them at all, we can be absolutely certain that the merciful God would be infinitely kinder to him. God’s response to Victor would be: “My grace is sufficient for you, for in your weakness, power reaches perfection” (2 Cor 12:9). 

Dear Fr Victor, as your name suggests, today you are really a victor. You will no longer be a victim to blood pressure, diabetes, bodily wear and tear, ailments and physical sufferings. You have triumphed over all these earthly conditions. You have fought a good fight; you have finished the race in style. You have gone to heaven where you really belong. Rest in peace and pray for us. Adieu Fr Victor, till we meet again! 

- Fr Edward Rodrigues, SJ

Source: Karunada Saurabha » Karnataka Jesuit Province Newsletter, KS » November 2022» Vol 95 » No. 11

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Mundgod - Hanagal

Mundgod is a small town located in the reserved forest area in the northern part of Karnataka. In 1980 Fr. Mathew Lewis went as parish priest of St. Rita’s Church, with a small number of Catholics. In 1991, with the help of the Charity Sisters, Fr Lewis started a school in the Church premises to educate the tribals (Siddhis, Gollas, and Gowlies) and Dalits who live in small villages deep in the forest. In 1993 under the able leadership of Fr. Lawrence Pinto the school was shifted to the present location (Karaginakoppa). In 1994 the primary school turned into a High School and then a composite PU College in 2003.

In view of preparing good teachers the Jesuits started a D. Ed College in 2004. However due to the changing policies of the government and lack of numbers, it was closed down. Fr. Lawrence Pinto followed a different education system. Along with the regular subjects he introduced additional subjects like farming, dairy, carpentry, etc., so that the students after their studies go back to their villages and help in rebuilding their village and make the villages self-sufficient. Instead of housing them in large hostel buildings, a cottage system was introduced. Each cottage had around 30 children with a kitchen, a garden and a warden. It was a new concept – school with a difference.

Loyola Vikas Kendra, a social action centre, works for the integral development of the poor, fighting for justice, building up their self-esteem, restoring human dignity, creating awareness, promoting health and hygiene, releasing them from the fetters of money lenders and eradicating poverty in Mundgod and HangalTalukas of Uttara Kannada and Haveri districts. This centre runs 5 village hostels, mainly for the Primary and the High school students.

St. Rita’s Parish has 3 sub-stations. The Catholics in two sub stations – Mainahalli and Ugginkere are mainly Siddhis who are descendants of African slaves brought to Goa by the Portuguese, and hence bear African features. Another substation is at Malagi. The parish at Mundgod looks after the socio-pastoral development of the people. St. Lawrence Church at Hangal is another parish under the supervision of the Mundgod Mission.

Bijapur - Sindagi

It was in 1991 at the request of the Diocese of Belgaum; Vijayapura (aka Bijapur) Jesuit Mission was started by the Jesuits of Karnataka Province. The main task of the Jesuits was to take care of the Catholic community of St. Anne’s Church, Bijapur. The first Jesuits who pioneered the mission were Fr. Ambrose D’Mello and Fr. Denis Alvares. Having made a situational analysis of the city, the Jesuits discovered that Bijapur was dominated by slums. Seeing the plight of the slum dwellers, they made an intervention in the slums of Vijayapura trying to raise the consciousness of the people and organizing educational and conscientization programmes for the marginalized. As they went ahead, they discovered a lot of child labourers in the whole of the district and began a Child Labourers School which was well recognized in the district.

After the diocese of Gulbarga was established in 2005, Vijayapura became a Deanery with the Mission Superior as the Dean. It comprises the missions of Vijayapura, Devarahipparagi, Indi, Kanakal, Sindagi, Almel, Muddebihal and Talikote. Seeing the immensity of the task, they sought the collaboration of other religious. Nine religious congregations of women accepted the invitation. They are spread out in the whole of the deanery of Vijayapura. The religious congregations there now are: Society of Jesus (SJ), Sisters of Charity (SCCG), Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny (SJC), Sisters of St. Joseph of Tarbes (SJT), Daughters of the Heart of Mary (DHM), Sisters of Jesus, Mary and Joseph (JMJ), Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions (RNDM), Ursuline Franciscan Sisters (UFS) and Sisters of St. Joseph of Lyons (SJL). Although each of the congregations/priests functions autonomously in the area assigned to them, they work as a team with a common vision, objectives, strategies and plan of action.

In Vijayapura and Sindagi, the Jesuits are involved in the following works: pastoral work through a parish (the only parish in the whole of the district of Vijayapura), securing basic amenities for the slum dwellers in 65 slums, technical education for the rural school dropouts, rehabilitation of Devadasis and commercial sex workers and the education of their girl children, formal education of the children of the slum dwellers, Devadasis, HIV infected and migrants, ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, HIV/AIDS awareness in the slums of Vijayapura and Community Care of the HIV/AIDS infected persons of North Karnataka districts.

SINDAGI

Loyola School CBSE Sindagi began in 2011 as Loyola KG School at 'Sangama' Social Work Center near Jnana Bharati School, Sindagi. It was later shifted to the present new campus in 2013. The construction work of the school began on 16 October 2013.

Rev Fr Lawrence Pinto SJ was the founding father. Later Fr. Eric Mathias SJ served till 16 August 2014. Then came Dn. Lancy Dais who left in December and was replaced by Fr. Kanikyaraju as the Manager of the School.

The Year 2014 was one of the most significant years of Loyola School, Sindagi as it received an independent building for its classes. March 08, 2014 was the historic day as the building was dedicated to the students in the presence of our benefactor Rev Fr. W. Molinski SJ of German Province. Most Rev. Dr Robert Miranda, Bishop of Gulbarga, Mr. Oscar Fernandes, Minister of Road and Surface Transport Government of India, Mr. M.B. Patil, Minister of Irrigation, Government of Karnataka, Fr. Francis Serrao SJ Provincial of Karnataka and a large number of Jesuits and other well-wishers were present.

On 1 st of July 2015 the foundation stone for the faculty house Loyola Nivas was laid. In the month of September. a new computer lab with 35 computers was made available for the students of Loyola School. New Bus to Loyola School Sindagi was purchased on 18th May with the generous contribution of Rheinik; parish in Switzerland with the help of Fr Toni Kurmann. New play area for Loyola School Sindagi was constructed in the month of March 2015.

In 2017,the secondary school building work began in the campus. The Sisters of St. Joseph of Lyons were the collaborators. Later the Ursuline Franciscan Sisters (UFS). In the year 2018, Sr Milagrine UFS took over as the HM of Loyola School Sindagi. Little forest in the campus was named as 'Loyola Vana'.

In the year 2021, Fr Cyril Castelino was appointed as the new Principal of Loyola School. Presently Fr Lancy Fernandes SJ is the Principal since 2022.

Websites:

Bijapur: https://www.loyolainstitutions.org/

Sindagi: http://loyolasindagi.com/

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Fr Dominic Ferroli (1887-1970)

Fr Ferroli who passed away in Italy on 4th October 1970 at the ripe old age of 84, was one of the great luminaries of the former Mangalore Mission. Born in Italy on 13th November 1887, he did his early studies in the Diocesan Seminary. He entered the Society in  January 1906 and did his novitiate at Soresina and later his first year of philosophy at  Cremona. In 1910 he was sent to England where he completed his philosophy at  Stonyhurst and then joined the Liverpool University. Here he had for companion Fr Leo Proserpio, who became later the Bishop of Calicut.

The two of them came to India in 1913, reaching Mangalore on October 26. Fr Ferroli spent 3 years at St Aloysius College doing his regency and then proceeded to Kurseong for his theology. He was ordained in   January 1920. At the end of the same year, Fr Ferroli was sent back to Italy and joined the University of Padua where he took his doctorate in  Physics in1923. Back in India at the end of the year, he did his tertianship at Ranchi and then joined the staff of St Aloysius College in November 1924. For the next 10 years, he worked in Mangalore teaching Mathematics and religion in the College, running study clubs for boys or organizing public lectures and writing books.

After a brief stay in Italy in 1934, he was posted at Christ Hall, Calicut where he was first in charge of the carbon factory and then taught in the Juniorate. In 1937 Fr Ferroli was transferred to Bangalore where he took up work at St Joseph's College, which was then newly taken over by the Jesuits of the Mangalore Mission. Here he organized the first  Summer School which continued to be held for a number of years. 

During the Second World War, Fr Ferroli was interned in N. India, and was allowed to return to the Mission only in1945. He stayed for a time in Calicut and then went to Bangalore in 1947 where he took up work in St Joseph's College once more. Fr Ferroli returned to Italy in 1956 when he was long past the age for active work in the College. But he continued his labours in Italy, keeping himself busy with various forms of apostolic work almost till the end.

A highly intellectual man, Fr Ferroli was at the same time an assiduous worker. While fully occupied in teaching, he found time to write several books. The best known of these are his Studies in Christian Sanctity (a second edition was published under the title of 'The Queen's Call'), Ethics or Moral Science in three volumes, Jesuits in Malabar in two volumes, and Jesuits in Mysore. The two last show great research and scholarship and a  sense of historical perspective.

An eloquent preacher, his sermons were always a delight to hear, while as a confessor he was greatly in demand. Seemingly absorbed in intellectual pursuits and grave-looking, he was at the same time an amiable man who kept the ball rolling during community recreation by his humorous stories. Above all, he was a   man of prayer and great personal sanctity. It was a source of edification to watch him recite the breviary or his rosary – so great was his recollection. May God grant him the reward of his great labours. 

Written by Fr Devadatta Kamath

in The Burning Bush Part II Volume 2, Pages 39-40, 2008 (Unpublished, Kar Province Archives).