Blessed José de Anchieta – WYD2013 Patron of the Week

Last edited 5th November 2012

Blessed José de Anchieta – WYD2013 Patron of the Week

Blessed José de Anchieta is known as the National Apostle of Brazil, and was co-founder of the cities of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

Son of a wealthy and prominent family, and possibly related to Saint Ignatius of Loyola, José de Anchieta was born in the Canary Islands, and was educated in Portugal. He joined the Jesuits in 1551 at age 17. José dislocated his spine while he was young, and so the Jesuits sent him on Mission to Brazil for its mild climate in the hope that his back would improve. It never did, and he was in constant pain for the 44 years he worked in the Americas.

José and another Jesuit priest, names Emanuel Nóbrega, arrived in region of Brazil that was known as Piratininga on the feast of Saint Paul - and so they named the mission Sao Paulo. In 1553 he first met the Tupi Indians who lived on the outskirts of the settlement. As he was adept at languages, José soon learned theirs. For two decades José worked on a dictionary used by Portuguese settlers and missionaries.

José was later held hostage for five months by the Tamoyo tribe during which time he occupied himself by composing a Latin poem in honour of the Blessed Virgin. Since he had no writing supplies, he wrote in wet sand and memorized the verses. When he again reached Sao Vicente he committed all 4,172 lines to paper.

José converted the Maramomis tribe, and composed plays for his students to perform, writing them in Latin, Spanish, Portuguese, and Tupi. Because his dramas were the first written in Brazil, José is known as the Father of Brazilian national literature.

Let us turn to Blessed Jose, one of the first missionaries to step foot in Brazil and bring the Catholic faith to Rio de Janeiro, that we may follow in his footsteps as modern day missionaries.

Like your example, may we multiply and be fruitful in missionary activity throughout our country. Amen

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