PROFILES IN HOLINESS
Brief Biographies of Jesuit Saints
Names of Saints are in red
From the very start of my venture into Profiles in Holiness I have been in touch with our Postulator General Fr Paolo Molinari, S.J. (in charge of Saints’ Causes), in Rome. In one of his replies to me he stated: "I am glad to know that you are doing your best to foster an accurate knowledge of our Saints and Blessed and to promote a sound devotion to them....." Besides, in the early stages of composing this book, I had contacted Fr Joseph N. Tylenda, S.J., author of "Jesuit Saints and Martyrs". His response to the drafts of the first three chapters I had sent for his perusal, was: "I like the way you divided the material."
In fact, the distinguishing feature of this book is its format! Its bulkiness is offset by its presentation. Each biography is brief and structured to make for easy reading. Each ‘chapter’ begins with a one-page ‘overview’ that can serve as an introduction to the liturgical celebration of the Saint, or attract a casual reader to obtain a ‘general idea’ of the Saint on his feast-day. The section on "Life and work" is succinct, comprehensive. It avoids certain hagiographic details such as assessing the Saint’s ‘zeal’ in numbers of ‘souls gained for Christ’, or extolling the physical endurance of the martyrs by describing the forms and brutality of their torture. The section on "Character traits and spirituality" contains merely ‘nuggets’ highlighting aspects of the Saint’s inner life. These ‘points’ can be used for personal meditation or for community prayer services with creative adaptations. My humble suggestion is that a copy of Profiles be kept in the chapel to ensure that it is used frequently!
Profiles in Holiness, are "brief biographies of Jesuit Saints". They include the ‘Beatified", of course, who are only an ‘official’ step away from canonization. After all, they are Saints indeed!
I wish to express my sincere indebtedness and gratitude to the many Jesuits the world over who have generously permitted me to use content from their websites, and were kind enough to mail me relevant material. A.M.D.G.!
L atest “Lives of Saints”
atest “Lives of Saints”
After a gap of half a century, since the historian Fr James H. Gense, S.J’s “Feast-Days in the Jesuit Calendar” (1954, Bombay), we have a new Indian publication on the Saints and Blessed of the Society of Jesus. The 444-paged pastoral-oriented volume, “Profiles in Holiness”, is written by Hedwig Lewis, S.J., an internationally reputed author of several books on spiritual and professional subjects. It was published by Gujarat Sahitya Prakash, Anand, in September 2003.
Profiles in Holiness, is a hallowed ‘gallery’ with pen-portraits of exemplary Jesuits from St Ignatius of Loyola, the Founder of the Society of Jesus in the sixteenth century, to Saint José Rubio who was canonized by Pope John Paul II on 4 May 2003. Each ‘life’ portrays the human striving for perfection, for holiness/wholeness in life through ‘heroic’ or ‘ordinary’ means. Though characterized by the Jesuit charism of endeavouring ‘for the greater glory if God’, the book will inspire non-Jesuits as well, because these mini-biographies of 49 Saints and 147 Blessed, display universal “holiness” – the human being empowered by God’s Grace. The book is arranged according to the respective feast-days of the Saint, and “is so structured that it can be used for introductions to liturgical celebrations, as a resource for community prayer, or for spiritual reading and personal reflection.” An important and uncommon feature of the book, thanks to the resourcefulness of the author, is that a picture-portrait accompanies the pen-portrait of each Saint, for visual effect.
Fr Louis Menezes, S.J, (Mumbai), who copy-edited the proofs, sent the following note to Fr K.T. Mathew, the publisher: “I think the book will be welcomed not only in India but abroad too. In addition to what Fr Lewis says (in the Foreword) it will also serve for private spiritual reading or even meditation/contemplation. As I was going through the pages, I could not but stop now and then for a brief moment of reflection/prayer, as the pages went on recalling how and in what spirit our great men SERVED the Lord in total self-abandonment and LOVE… I’m sure it will have hot sales. I’d even go to the extent of recommending it as one of the source books held in hand by each scholastic during his training… for meditation/reflection, even on a daily basis.” (Gujarat Jesuit Samachar, September 2003)
- A Unique Lives of Saints entitled "profiles in Holiness" by an internationally reputed author, Fr Hedwig Lewis, S.J. has been published. Fr K.T. Mathew of Gujarat Sahitya Prakash, Anand, who has brought out this book in September 2003 told this reporter that the book is a unique contribution to the (literature on) Lives of Jesuit saints. ... (The Herald, Calcutta, October 17-23, 2003)
- The biographical sketches of the saints, which include the "beatified", are arranged month-wise according tot their feast days. Each sketch opens with a "life and Work" portrait that provides vital details of the saint: date and place of birth, context, mission and main contribution. This is followed by a "Character Traits and Spirituality" section that highlights the saint's inner life. Finally, the "Conclusion and Reflection" serve as food-for-thought on the feast day of the particular saint.
the Foreword the author suggests that a copy of the book be kept in the chapel
to be available for liturgical introductions and prayer services commemorating
the saint/s. Hence, rather than provide minute hagiographical details about the
saint, the author has included the important details that could be profitably
used for liturgy, meditation and general information/instruction. The
biographies are concise and clear, the reflection thought-provoking.
previous books have been veritable reservoirs of stories, anecdotes, poems,
quotations, spiritual insights, practical tips, and so on. They serve as 'quick'
yet 'quality' resources for teachers, animators, pastors and leaders. This
book is no exception. The subtitle might mislead one to think that the book is
only meant for Jesuits. It is not. Loyola, Xavier and Britto belong to the
Church at large. And Lewis makes them all come alive for our times, to inform
EXCERPTS FROM SOME LETTERS OF APPRECIATION
Dear Father Lewis,
This is to thank you for the book “Profiles
in Holiness” – Brief Biographies
of Jesuit Saints-
a copy of which you sent me so thoughtfully.
I feel certain that my sense of deep gratitude to you reflects the
feelings of countless others, particularly the younger members of the Society of
Jesus, before whom you have placed the personalities who had incarnated the
spirit of the Society in such a way that they could look up to them with
admiration and follow them in their daily lives.
It was a book such as this that God chose to transform a soldier seeking
earthly glory into a Saint who founded a whole army to live and to work for
the greater glory of God. May
this book, which presents our Saints in the most practical way, not only enrich
our liturgies, but also inspire our young people to heights of heroism and
sanctity, making the Good News of Jesus Christ come alive in today’s
generation and into the future.
Yours sincerely in the Lord,
Fr Jerry Sequeira, SJ, Provincial, Gujarat Province: Congratulation for your book "Profiles in Holiness". It deserves a celebration… [12 September 2003]
Fr Tony Moonnu, SJ, Parish Priest, Patan (Gujarat): Thank you very much for the book on Jesuit saints. The volume was much needed and I expect it would be widely appreciated. Many Jesuits will be grateful to you. [26 Sept 2003]
Fr P.D. Mathew, SJ,
director, Legal Aid Programme,
I.S.I., Delhi: It contains very valuable material for prayer and reflection. May
those exemplary Jesuits inspire us to live a life worthy of our vocation.
Congratulations on your fruitful work. [7 Oct 2003]
Fr Pratap Naik, SJ, Executive Director, Thomas Stephens Konkanni Kendr, Goa: I was delighted to see your latest publication Profiles in Holiness. It is really a wonderful book. I have no words to thank you for this relevant service. This book will help Jesuits to know, appreciate and to draw strength from their own saints and blessed. [9 Oct 2003]
Stanislaus Fernandes, SJ,
Gandhinagar, Gujarat: Your profiles of Jesuit Saints is a collection of love and
fidelity of the Saints and of Hedwig Lewis. I mean it. Congrats on your writing
A list of Jesuit Saints and Blessed, accompanied by short biographies and occasional illustrations, is available at the web page of the Roman Curia produced by the Secretariat for Social Communications: www.sjweb.info.
In its new site – Jesuit Saints and blessed – one finds under “Bibliography” four publications, two of which are published by Gujarat Sahitya Prakash! The titles on the list are: Jesuit Saints & Martyrs, 1998, by J. N. Tylenda SJ (USA), Profiles in Holiness, 2003, by Hedwig Lewis SJ; Passion and Glory, 1999, by Ignacio Echaniz SJ, and 48 Santos y 147 Beatos de la Compañía de Jesús, 2001, by A. J. Bernal L. SJ, (Spanish).
The by-line for Profiles in Holiness reads: “The format distinguishes this book which first presents a brief summary of each saint or blessed that it treats, and then has sections on each man's life and work, character traits and spirituality, and other areas.”