John de Brito
|Saint John de Brito|
|Born||March 1, 1647
|Died||February 11, 1693
Oriyur (ஓரியூர்), Tamil Nadu, India
|Honored in||Roman Catholic Church|
|Beatified||August 21, 1853, Rome by Pope Pius IX|
|Canonized||June 22, 1947, Rome by Pope Pius XII|
|Patronage||Portugal, Roman Catholic Diocese of Sivagangai|
Saint John de Brito (Portuguese: João de Brito, also spelled "Britto") (born in Lisbon, Portugal, on March 1, 1647 – died at Oriyur (ஓரியூர்), Tamil Nadu, India, on February 11, 1693) was a Portuguese Jesuit missionary and martyr, often called "the Portuguese St. Francis Xavier" by Indian Catholics.
Early life and Missionary work 
John de Brito was the scion of a powerful aristocratic Portuguese family: his father[who?] died while serving as Viceroy of Brazil (see Colonial Brazil). He joined the Jesuits in 1662, studying at the famous University of Coimbra. He traveled to the missions of Madura, in southern India, present-day Tamil Nadu, in 1673 and preached the Christian religion in the region of the Marava country. He renamed himself Arul Anandar (அருளானந்தர்) in Tamil. The ruler of the Marava country imprisoned him in 1684. Having been expelled, he returned to Lisbon in 1687 and worked as a missions procurator. King Pedro II wanted him to stay, but in 1690 he returned to the Marava country with 24 new missionaries.
The Madura Mission was a bold attempt to establish an Indian Catholic Church that was relatively free of European cultural domination. As such, Brito learned the native languages, went about dressed in yellow cotton and living like a Hindu Kshatriya, abstaining from every kind of animal food and from wine. St. John de Brito tried to teach the Catholic faith in categories and concepts that would make sense to the people he taught. This method, proposed and practiced by Roberto de Nobili, met with remarkable success. Brito remained a strict vegetarian until the end of his life, rejecting meat, fish, eggs and alcohol, and living only on legumes, fruits and herbs.
John de Brito's preaching led to the conversion of Thadiyathevan (தடியத் தேவன்), a Marava prince who had several wives. When Thadiyathevan was required to dismiss all his wives but one, a serious problem arose. One of the wives was a niece of the neighboring king, the Sethupathi (சேதுபதி) who took up her quarrel and began a general persecution of Christians. De Brito and the catechists were taken and carried to the capital, Ramnad, the Brahmins clamouring for his death. Thence he was led to Oriyur (ஓரியூர்), some thirty miles northward along the coast, where he was executed by beheading on 11 February 1693.
Papal tribute 
During his pastoral visit to India in 1986, Pope John Paul II honoured John de Brito at a solemn Mass he celebrated on 4 February, the saint's feast day:
|“||Saint John de Britto, whom we are remembering in today’s liturgical celebration, was born in Lisbon in 1647. After entering the Society of Jesus he followed the footsteps of Saint Francis Xavier to India where he chose to work for the humble and needy in what was then called the Madurai Mission. His patient labours, selfless zeal and genuine love for the poor won for him their confidence. Like Jesus he was "a sign of contradiction" and his success created jealousy and opposition. As a result, John de Britto died a martyr on 11 February 1693, bearing witness to Christ."||”|
In Portugal 
His name was given to jesuit-run Colégio S. João de Brito, one of the most famous Portuguese schools
In India 
One of the four houses in the Jesuit school, St. Xavier's, Calcutta, is named after John de Brito. In the Campion School of Mumbai, there is a house named after Brito (Britto House). The other two houses are named for St. Francis Xavier (Xavier House) and St. Ignatius Loyola (Loyola House).
One of the three houses in the Infant Jesus Anglo-Indian Higher Secondary School Tangasseri, Kollam (http://ijhss.org/) is named after John de Brito (Brittos). The other two houses are named for St. Don Bosco(Boscos) and St. John Berchmans (Berchmans).
St Britto High School in Goa is named after Brito as he lived there for seven months to complete his theological studies at St Paul's College in Old Goa. The school is administered by the Jesuits. There is an Anglo-Indian Boys High School in the Diocese of Cochin, in the old Portuguese city of Fort Cochin, named after St John de Britto, nearby the Bishop's House, in Cochin.
Brito is the patron Saint (referred as Pathukavul) of Sakthikulangara Parish in Kollam Diocese, Kerala. Every year, Brito's feast day is celebrated in Sakthikulanagara with a big procession (prathikshanam). The St John De Britto Anglo-Indian High School is named after him. One of the jesuit colleges established in Tamil Nadu is named after St. Britto as Arul Anandar College (Arts & Science) which is in Karumathur, Madurai. The college was established by the Jesuits to promote college education in the rural parts of Madurai.
Other countries 
In the Philippines, Brito is honoured with several classes to his name in the Jesuit-run Ateneo schools:
- 7-De Brito in Ateneo de Manila Grade School
- Four high school sections in Ateneo de Davao University (1-De Brito; 2-De Brito; 3-De Brito; 4-De Brito)
- A second-year high school(formerly third-year) section in Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan
See also 
- de Britto, Fernando Pereira (brother of John de Brito) (1852) . Historia do nascimento, vida e martyrio do Beato João de Britto da Companhia de Jesus, Martyr da Asia, e protomartyr da missâo do Maduré [History of the birth, life and martyrdom of Blessed John de Britto of the Society of Jesus, Martyr of Asia, and Protomartyr of the Madura Mission] (in Portuguese) (2nd ed.). Lisbon: A. S. Monteiro. p. 203. ISBN 978-1-142-04284-4. Retrieved 2011-06-15. "... se absteve até á morte de carnes, de ovos, de peixe, e de vinho, contentando-se com legumes, hervas e frutas; [... abstained from meats, eggs, fish, and wine until his death, contenting himself with vegetables, herbs and fruits;]"
- Roberts, Holly Harlayne (2004-09-01). Vegetarian Christian Saints: Mystics, Ascetics & Monks. New York: Anjeli Press. p. 198. ISBN 978-0-9754844-0-1. Retrieved 2010-12-08. Lay summary. "He distinguished himself by ... consuming a totally vegetarian diet"
- Pope John Paul II honors John de Brito
- Raj, Selva J. (2002). "Transgressing Boundaries, Transcending Turner: The Pilgrimage Tradition at the Shrine of St. John de Britto". In Raj, Selva J.; Dempsey, Corinne G. Popular Christianity in India: Riting Between the Lines. SUNY Press. pp. 86–87. ISBN 978-0-7914-5519-7. Retrieved 2012-05-01.
- "Blessed John de Britto". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.
- "Madura Mission". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.
- St. John de Brito, S. J.
- Kolese De Britto (official site)
- Saint of the Day, February 4: John de Britto at SaintPatrickDC.org