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This Portuguese saint is the patron of Bombay

Gonsalo Garcia

Grentidez | CC BY-SA 3.0

Philip Kosloski - published on 02/10/24

St. Gonsalo Garcia was born in India to a Portuguese father and an Indian mother, eventually dying a martyr's death in Japan.

During the 15th century, Portugal began to expand its empire, and set up an outpost in India near what is now called Mumbai (formerly Bombay). This occupation lasted for roughly 200 years.

In 1557, St. Gonsalo Garcia was born to a Portuguese father and an Indian mother. He was born in Bassein and studied at a local Jesuit school.

The Catholic Encyclopedia explains how he at first joined the Jesuits and went to Japan, but then left the Jesuits to become a trader:

At the age of 24 or 25 he went to Japan in the company of some Jesuit Fathers who were ordered, in 1580, to leave Bassein, and join their mission in the former country. He quickly acquired a knowledge of the language; and as he was of an amiable disposition he won the hearts of the people and did great service as a catechist for eight years. He then left this kind of work and betook himself to Alacao for trading purposes. His business soon flourished and branches were opened in different places.

He was then attracted to the Franciscans and joined them in their missionary endeavors:

During his frequent visits to Manila he made the acquaintance of the Franciscans, and being drawn more and more towards them he finally joined the Seraphic Order as a lay brother. He sailed from the Philippine Islands with other companions in religion under Petrus Baptista, 26 May, 1592, on an embassy from the Spanish Governor to the Emperor of Japan.

St. Gonsalo would soon suffer severe persecution in Japan and was eventually martyred on February 5, 1597.

Despite spending most of his ministry in Japan, the local community in Bassein kept alive the memory of St. Gonsalo and built a local shrine to him.

To this day he is remembered with great solemnity in India and is considered the patron saint of the Archdiocese ofBombay.

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