By Prof. Clement Dsouza
Records show that one of the first Jesuit missions started in India with the arrival of Francis Xavier in the 16th Century and their work in the country has continued to spread throughout the years. Altogether, there are currently 18 Jesuit Provinces in India alone comprising about 4000 Jesuits, including the Karnataka Jesuit Province where Jesuit presence is long-standing, with St. Francis Xavier himself and his contemporaries visiting the coast of the then politically unorganised state of Karnataka.
Karnataka Jesuit Province is one of the administrative units of the Society of Jesus, comprising the whole of Karnataka State, except Belgaum District, and having a membership of nearly 300 Jesuits works with a motto of serving the poorest of the poor in various parts of Karnataka where it has been able to light a candle in the dark existence of those who are victims of poverty, injustice, and oppression.
Karnataka Jesuit Missions are involved in educational, social, spiritual and pastoral ministries all over the State. Today they are running more than 60+ institutions like schools, colleges, technical institutions, outreach centres etc.
On the 1st of September, Jesuit alumni got together at St. Joseph’s College Bangalore to form a federation of Jesuit alumni in Karnataka, under the name JAAIKAR (Jesuit Alumni Association of India, Karnataka).
For more information about the work of the Jesuits in Karnataka, please visit http://www.karnatakajesuits.org/