|St. José de Anchieta, S.J.|
Francis signed the decrees for the equivalent canonisations of José de Anchieta (1534-1597), Marie de l’Incarnation Guyart (1599-1672) and François de Montmorency-Laval (1623-1708). Word spread in Brazil that José de Anchieta had been proclaimed a saint yesterday, so celebrations in local churches and neighbourhoods were held a day in advance. In fact Brazil’s bishops had to issue a communiqué pointing out the correct date. José de Anchieta, known as “abarebebe” (which in the indigenous Tupi language means “the flying priest”), is a Jesuit, like Francis. He was born in San Cristóbal de La Laguna on the island of Tenerife, on 19 March 1534 and died on 9 June 1957. Italian blog Il Sismografo, which has published a brief biography of the three new saints, recalls that Anchieta is remembered as a defender of Brazil’s indigenous people and is called “the Apostle of Brazil”. São Paulo and Ro de Janeiro consider him one of their founding fathers. He is considered by many to be the father of Brazilian literature (he wrote poems in Tupi and compiled the first grammar of the Tupi language. In 1551, he and his brother joined the Company of Jesus in Portugal, where he had gone to study. Anchietra arrived in Brazil on 13 June 1553, when he was not yet 20 and launched a number of activities, not just religious ones. In 1577 he was nominated Provincial of the Company of Jesus in Brazil. His beatification process began at the Bahia harbourmaster’s office in 1617.