Leonard Fernando SJ
Jesuits have been a continuing presence in India since the sixteenth century. With the help of local people, they not only spread the Christian faith but also did a lot for the growth of the Indian nation, especially through education, scientific advancements, and betterment of the lives of underprivileged people. They attempted enculturation of the Christian faith in multicultural India; learnt of, discussed, and respected other religions; and mastered and contributed to the growth of Indian languages. Now about 4,000 Jesuits—mostly Indians—are working in eighteen Provinces/Regions in India. There are three major phases in the history of Jesuits in India—the beginning, suppression, and restoration. All along, true to the Ignatian charism, members of the Society of Jesus have kept their daring missionary zeal of moving to the frontiers—challenging, unknown, and unexplored.