Saint John de Brito, SJ
The Apostle of Madura



Brito on Portuguese India Scott 467 Brito on Portuguese India Scott J43 Brito on Portuguese India Scott J44
PORTUGUESE INDIA, 1946, the 3rd centenary de Brito's birth, Scott 467
Surcharged as a postage due stamp in 1951, Scott J43-44
(design based on a drawing of Albert Sousa)

John de Brito was of Portuguese nobility and the son of a governor of Brazil. He entered the Jesuits in Lisbon in 1662, was ordained in 1673, and left that year for the mission in India. He worked mostly in Madura. At the time Christians belonged mostly to the lower castes. John aimed at converting the higher castes, the better to establish Christianity in the region, and to do so he became a pandaraswami, an Indian ascetic, who could approach all castes. He adopted the appropriate dress and life style of such an ascetic, one of the first of the Jesuits missionaries to do so. One of his converts, Prince Tadaya Theva, upon becoming Christian put aside all his wives except one. One of the rejected wives complained to her uncle, the raja of Marava who eventually had Brito executed.

Brito on Portuguese India Scott 471a
The above stamp was from this 1946 PORTUGUESE INDIA mini sheet with both de Brito and Xavier, Scott 471a

Brito on Portuguese India postal card H&G 42a
The stamp also appeared on a series of postal cards with variously colored cachets,
featuring the Fortaleza de Diu, the Pagoda de Queula, the Se de Diu, Quebra-mar de Mormugão, Zatrá de Amonã,
the tomb of Xavier (above) or the interior of the Bom Gesu Church, H&G 42-43,

Brito on Portuguese Scott 690  Brito on Portuguese Scott 692

Brito on Portuguese Scott 689 Brito on Portuguese Scott 691 imperf Brito on Portuguese Scott 691
PORTUGAL, 1948, the 3rd centenary de Brito's birth, Scott 689-692
The relief of him as a page at Lisbon is from a Barata Feyo bas relief based on a painting by Henrico Franco;
the image of him as an apostle in Madura is based on another bas relief of Feyo.

, 2016

Brito and four other figures are highlighted in a special issue entitled Jesuits, Builders of Globalization: Antonio Vieira, St. Francis Xavier, Father Manuel Antunes, and Father Luis Archer.