Wednesday, August 24, 2011

faith: missionary, jesuit, tibet, st francis, crab


the letter written by Cavacella to the Bishop of Goa mentioned a missionary based in Tsingrapo (western tibet). curiosity led me in knowing this missionary named Father Antonio de Andrade, the 'the first European to cross the Himalayas and reach Tibet'.

on the other hand, another jesuit missionary Bento de Goes took a different route before reaching the much fabled Cathy.


1602 - Bento de Góis : Agra - Lahore - Peshawar - Kabul - Pamir Mountains - Yarkand - China (Gansu Province)...

1624 - António de Andrade and brother Manoel Marques : Agra - Delhi - Tibet via the himalayas - Tsarapang (Western Tibet)

1626 - Father Cacella and Father João Cabra: - Cochin (Kochi) - Bengal - Bhutan - Shigatse (Tibet)

if u you want to know more about these missions, you have to read Cornelius Wessels' Early Jesuit travellers in Central Asia, 1603-1721. the book is available online!


honestly, im not so interested about the evangelical aspect of these missions. its the adventure of exploring unknown lands that captured my imagination.

ive read an account on early spanish missionaries reaching the far corners of the cordillera mountains. these missionaries intruded into the native's way of life. they tried to eradicate their "pagan" (or is it "animistic"?) beliefs by burning their "bulols" and banning their ancient rituals. they even forced the natives to leave their mountain settlements for the lowlands. some of these missions succeded, others failed.
in Cavacellas letter, he even referred to those non christan religious objects as the "devil".

its dissapointing to know that these things happend, that there were servants of God who employed damaging and offensive methods in order to preach a faith that is all about being good. the use of force and the denouncement of indigenous practices is an act of sacrilege and disrespect, insensitive to culture and to the feelings of others. its a classic example of the West displaying its superiority complex. im catholic. theres nothing wrong with preaching as long as it doesnt offend people in the process.

im torn on this issue because without force and violence, me and million others would not probably become Christians. but of course, it would have been more acceptable if the seeds of faith were planted without any coercion.


sad to know that some of the memorable missionary stories ive read are those that ended in a tragic way.

perhaps u are familiar with the logic game "the missionary and the cannibal problem". i think this game has a historical basis.

Island holds reconciliation over cannibalism

John Paton - Missionary among the Cannibals of South Pacific. ( was he Anglican?)

Both missionaries were killed and eaten by cannibals on the island of Erromanga on November 20 of that year, only minutes after going ashore.

The Miracle of Saint Francis Xavier and the Crab
Francesco Solimena
st francis xavier died on a shipwreck.

in one of st francis' journey to malacca, st francis prayed to God wen their ship was caught by a fierce storm. legend has it that he tossed his Cross into the sea and miraculously the waters calmed. when he reached the shores safely, he found a crab with its pincer holding his cross.

i come from a town known for its crabs. theres a variety of crab with a distinct cross shape mark on its shell. people believed its the cross of st francis imprinted on the shell so they call this variety "francisco".


i hav an uncle who is a priest. he used to be assigned as a missionary in a remote mountain area in southern mindanao dealing with indigenous peoples.

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