Item 259 - Letter from Fr Martin Jacques SJ, St Xavier's College, Kew, Melbourne, Australia concerning his voyage

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Letter from Fr Martin Jacques SJ, St Xavier's College, Kew, Melbourne, Australia concerning his voyage


  • 4 February 1885 (Creation)

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(14 June 1835-15 March 1890)

Biographical history

Born: 14 June 1835, Namur, Belgium
Entered: 31 May 1855, Tournoi, Belgium - Belgicae Province (BELG)
Ordained: 1867
Professed: 15 August 1870
Died: 15 March 1890, Manresa, Hawthorn, Melbourne, Australia - Belgicae Province (BELG)

Early Irish Mission to Australia 1884

β—† HIB Menologies SJ :
1885 A zealous Belgian Operarius arrived in Australia from Calcutta in ill health. After a short stay at the College in Kew, he joined our men in the parish of North Sydney.
He went with Michael Dooley to Invercargill in New Zealand to do parish work.
He returned to Australia and the Parish staff at Hawthorn, Victoria, where he died March 15th 1890.
Though in Melbourne a short time, he made many friends, and by all of them he was loved for his kindness and humility.
He was a man of few words, and spoke little during his last illness, but gave himself up to constant union with God. The community gathered around and prayed with him as he died peacefully 15 March 1890.

β—† David Strong SJ β€œThe Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280
Martin Jacques studied humanities and logic in the minor seminary of the Namur province from June 1835. He entered the Society 31 May 1855, and after the noviciate studied rhetoric and philosophy. He did regency for five years, followed by theology at Louvain from September 1866.
During theology he was sent to the Bengal Mission, arriving in India, 9 November 1867, and Calcutta, 14 December. He taught grammar in the college of St Francs Xavier for two years, completed theology, and was ordained by Archbishop Walter Steins, who subsequently died in Sydney on 27 September 1868.
He worked first among the Christians from Madras who were living in Calcutta, and then did parochial duties attached to the cathedral. The heat, together with teaching and pastoral duties exhausted him and he returned to Europe in 1870. When his health improved, Jacques taught grammar to the lower classes in the schools .
He returned to India and the Calcutta province in November 1871, and was attached to the Sacred Heart Church, locally called Dhurrumtollah. He worked among Europeans and local Catholics who lived in the region and operated from six stations. Sometime later he built a church. Further churches were built at Ranigunj and Burdwan from 1877. He worked in this region until the end of 1883.
Martin worked later in the province of Chota-Nagpor, and the following year returned to Brussels.
He arrived in Australia in 1885 in ill health. He was sent as minister for the North Shore parish, 1885-89, and then spent the last years of his life, 1889-90, at Hawthorn. He also spent a short time in New Zealand during 1888.

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Letter from Fr Martin Jacques SJ, St Xavier's College, Kew, Melbourne, Australia to Fr Thomas Brown SJ concerning his voyage to Australia.

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The Irish Jesuit Archives are open only to bona fide researchers. Access by advance appointment. Further details: [email protected]

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