Society of Jesus
The Society of Jesus, is a worldwide Roman Catholic
religious order founded by Saint Ignatius of Loyola.
☇ History of Province
In the first half of the 19th century Hazaribag was under the jurisdiction of the diocese of Kolkata. In 1847 the Capuchins from the newly erected Vicariate of Patna came as garrison chaplains. They cared for the shifting population of the military and civil personnel for twenty-five years when the town reverted to the care of the diocese of Kolkata.
The parish was closed and reopened several times till the 1930's when Fr. Joseph Soenens, a nephew of Constant Lievens, was appointed. He was the first to extend his pastoral care beyond the town the villages, including Santal villages, of Hazaribag.
The present campus of Carmel School was the compound of the garrison church; and parts of the original church may be seen in the present convent chapel. On the wall of the Sisters' chapel a marble plaque commemorating the ministry of Fr Van De Stuyft, may be seen.
When in 1951 the Districts of Hazaribag and Palamau were transferred from the Ranchi
Mission of the North Belgian Province to the care of Jesuits from the Australian Jesuit
Province, it was the dynamic Belgian, Fr. Edward De Meulder, the parish priest, who chiefly
welcomed them, and negotiated the purchase of the Balmoral property, which eventually
developed into the campus of St Xavier's, Hazaribag. He was living at the time in a rented property, The Hermitage, which he renamed The Catholic Ashram, and subsequently purchased. This is the present compound of the Hazaribag cathedral.
The new Hazaribag mission flourished. The original six priests were over the years joined by a few more priests and a good number of scholastics. By March 1956 the mission, so far under the Ranchi Vice-Provincie, was upgraded into the Hazaribag Region, with Fr. Philip McInerney
Fr. Gavin O'Sullivan
Came to Hazaribag 1952
as the first Region Superior. He was shortly afterwards replaced by Fr. Austin Kelly who guided the affairs of the Region till 1962. Meantime the new comers had moved into Hazaribag parish, Fr; Kevin Grogan being the first Hazaribag Region parish priest. They took over in turn the parishes of Mahuadanr, Kanjia, Daltonganj and Maheshmunda. The parish school of Mahuadanr became eventually the High School we know today. The Hazaribag parish school, St. Robert's, was ungraded to become a High School and later shifted first to campus of St Xavier's and again to its present site in Sindur.
St Xavier's school went from strength to strength, eventually becoming a CBSE co-educational Higher Secondary School. In 1956, at the behest of Bokaro Steel Limited, Fr. John Moore, the founder of St Xavier's Hazaribag, a school was opened in Bokaro Steel City, which now is as big as its Hazaribag companion school.
Our first Indian vocation:
Fr. Gaudentius Kongari
Joined 20 June 1954
A landmark in the history of the Hazaribag Jesuits was the elevation of the Region to the status of a Province. At the same time, 1992, the Province of Ranchi handed over to the new Province, the whole property of St Stanislaus College, Sitagarha, to be a novitiate, juniorate and tertianship under the Province.
The Agricultural College College, Sitagarha, founded by the Ranchi Jesuits in 1948 later developed into a PrimaryTeachers Educational College, now in a fine campus with two hundred trainees doing the two years course, with its attached Primary School under the care of the Holy Cross Sisters.
The future of the Province
As the Province developed the Hazaribag Jesuits branched out into new fields of activity. The apostolate among the Santals of Hazaribag district has resulted in a new Santal Church. In both Hazaribag District and the Districts of Palamau and Garhwa more attention was being given to the so called "Minor Tribes", Korwas, Brijias, Asuras, and Ganjus., all of whom now have educational facilities unknown to them hitherto fore. Similarly the Hazaribag Missionaries began to give their care to the so-called 'Dalit' groups of Hazaribag with medical and educational help.
One rather unique feature of all the undertakings of the Hazaribag Jesuits has been the collaboration with Sisters' Congregations. At present there are, at last count, thirteen Sisters' Congregations working alongside the Hazaribag Jesuits, some of them in responsible administrative posts, in our pastoral, educational, medical, and social uplift enterprises.
A number of the Hazaribag Jesuits have been outstanding in the field of communication with the Muslim community and the savarna and avarna community by personal contact, study and writing. More recently a communications centre has been set up, which is mainly responsible for this website. Over the years the Hazaribag Jesuits have been blessed with wise and enterprising Superiors. After the foundational Region Superiors, Fr. Philip McInerney( 1957) and Fr. Austin Kelly(1956-62), there followed Frs. Edmund O'Connor(1962-68), Maurice Dullard (1968-74), Bernard Donnelly (1974-80), Phillip Crotty (1980-86), R.C.Chacko (1986-92); Provincials M.S.Edward(1992-98), Gaudentius Kongari (1998-04), Thomas Venad (2004-10), and the current Provincial Fr. Francis Kurien (2010 -).
The late Fr. Kevin Cronin's book, "In Ever Increasing Measure" tells the full story of the Hazaribag Jesuits.