A brief history of Calcutta Jesuits
Jesuits were part of the Bengal milieu from 1574, not long after the birth of the Society of Jesus in 1540. The first Jesuits came to Bengal to cater to the Portuguese Christians who were already there, and through their efforts many locals embraced the Christian faith. This phase lasted till 1773 when the Society was suppressed.
After the restoration of the Society in 1814, the first group of Jesuits to come back to Bengal were the English in 1834. They began their mission with the establishment of St Xavier's College in 1835. But this phase did not last very long. Due to several logistical problems, the English Jesuits had to close the shop and return in 1846.
The third phase started with the arrival of Belgian Jesuits in 1859. They restarted the St Xavier's College at a new location. As more and more Jesuit missionaries arrived from Belgium, Malta, Yugoslavia, Canada and the US, the mission flourished and spread across Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand.
The Bengal mission has now grown into seven provinces.
Fr Raphael Joseph Hyde, SJ
Calcutta Jesuits during one of their meetings
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