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.

Life and work[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 entered the Society of Jesus in Bombay.[2] He 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 "Christian exercises in eastern form" 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]

Death and posthumous controversy[edit]

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

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] In response to the statement, 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 Asian Church.[9]


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


  1. ^ de Mello, Bill (2013). Anthony Demello SJ: The Happy Wanderer. Orbis Books. p. 8. ISBN 9781626980204. 
  2. ^ a b c Kononenko, Igor (2010). Teachers of Wisdom. Dorrance Publishing. p. 344. ISBN 9781434954107. 
  3. ^ Traub, George W. (editor) (2008). An Ignatian Spirituality Reader. Loyola Press. p. 113. ISBN 9780829427233. 
  4. ^ Wicks, Robert J. (1994). Handbook of Spirituality for Ministers, Volume 1. Paulist Press. p. 274. ISBN 9780809135219. 
  5. ^ Biography, by Bill deMello
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Vatican: the Holy See - Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith - NOTIFICATION CONCERNING THE WRITINGS OF FR. ANTHONY DE MELLO, SJ". Retrieved 29 December 2010. The Specific quote being, "With the present Notification, in order to protect the good of the Christian faithful, this Congregation declares that the above-mentioned positions are incompatible with the Catholic faith and can cause grave harm.".  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  8. ^ "EWTN Global Catholic Network". Archived from the original on 15 November 2006. Retrieved 24 November 2006. 
  9. ^
  10. ^

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