Anthony de Mello

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For the cricket administrator, see Anthony de Mello (cricket administrator).
Anthony de Mello
Born (1931-09-04)4 September 1931
Bombay, British India
Died 2 June 1987(1987-06-02) (aged 55)
New York, New York
Occupation Jesuit priest, author
Known for Spiritual writings and teachings
Ignatian spirituality

Anthony "Tony" de Mello (4 September 1931 – 2 June 1987) was an Indian Jesuit priest and psychotherapist. A spiritual teacher, writer and public speaker, De Mello wrote several books on spirituality and hosted numerous spiritual conferences.

Early life[edit]

De Mello was the oldest of five children born to Frank and Louisa née Castellino de Mello. He was born in Bombay, British India on 4 September 1931.[1]

As a teen, De Mello joined the Jesuit Order of Bombay.[2]


De Mello was ordained into the priesthood in March 1961.[2]

His first published book Sadhana - A way to God was released in 1978. It outlined a number of spiritual principles and exercises inspired by the teachings of Saint Ignatius.[3] Other books published during his lifetime include The Song of the Bird, One Minute Wisdom and Wellsprings. The first two were collections of stories and the last a collection of exercises similar to Sadhana.

In 1972, he founded the Institute of Pastoral Counselling, later renamed the Sadhana Institute of Pastoral Counseling, in Poona, India.[2][4]


De Mello died suddenly of a heart attack in 1987, at age 55 in New York City.[5]

Posthumous controversy[edit]

In 1998, 11 years after de Mello's death, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, under the leadership of its Cardinal-Prefect, Joseph Ratzinger[6] (who later became Pope Benedict XVI), conducted a review of de Mello's work and released a lengthy comment expressing their theological concerns. While the group showed appreciation for many of de Mello's writings, some positions were found to be "incompatible with the Catholic faith".[7][8] However the Indian magazine Outlook claimed it was an attempt by Rome to undermine the clergy in Asia and indicative of widening fissures between Rome and the Eastern Church.[9]


A number of de Mello's works were published posthumously as collections or based on notes or recordings of his conferences.[10]


External links[edit]