The Feast of Saint John de Brito, SJ

st john de brito, sj

St. John de Brito, SJ, wearing the Swami attire common in India.

February 4 is the Feast of Saint John de Brito, SJ. St. John was born into an aristocratic Portuguese family on March 1, 1647. While in his teens he became deathly ill and his mother prayed for the intersession of Saint Francis Xavier. John miraculously recovered and joined the Jesuits at age 15.

Like the saint who saved his life, St. John became a Jesuit missionary and ventured to India to spread Christianity. He tried to learn the local customs and integrate himself in society. To do this he gave up meat and wine and adopted the local garb of the Swami caste.

Despite his attempts to integrate with Indian society, he still upset those in power. A local prince wanted to become a Christian but had multiple wives. St. John said that he would have to end all his marriages except the first to become a Christian. The prince did so but in the process enraged his youngest wife. She in turn had her uncle, who was a king, behead St. John de Brito in 1693.

St. John was beatified by Pope Pius IX in 1853 and later canonized by Pope Pius XII in 1947.

Click here to read more about his life on thinkjesuit.org

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