Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Illustrious Jesuit, Father Alexander de Rhodes

Tonquin provided itself with a feeder by establishing the Seminary of Foreign Missions, in France, Japan did not, and, as a consequence, the church of Tonquin flourished while that of Japan died. Finally, forging a weapon wherewith to do battle for his cause, he pays a glowing tribute to the supposed founder of his favorite mission, Alexander de Rhodes, in the following words:
"The illustrious Jesuit, Father Alexander de Rhodes, S.J., was the Josue of the Tonquinese mission. His was a broader mind than most of his contemporaries. Driven from Tonquin (Tonkin, Vietnam), he went to Rome, whence, after advising with the Pope, he journeyed to Paris, there to inaugurate the great Seminary of the Foreign Missions."
Now we must premise that it is only by the courtesy of his sincere and warm-hearted admirer that de Rhodes can be called the Josue of the Tonquinese mission, for, in point of fact, he was not the first to enter it, never inaugurated the Seminary of the Foreign Missions, and never led his warriors, or even went back himself, to that promised land. Nevertheless, he was a noble and heroic soul, and deserves all the praise we can give him. Yet if his letters portray him rightly, he would be hurt to find himself exalted at the expense of his brethren.

Link (here) The American Catholic Quarterly Review, the article is entitled, The Failure of Native Clergy.

Link (here) to a time line of Catholic and Jesuit missionary activity in Vietnam.

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