First Lithuanian Jesuit in India remembered

Panji (UCAN) Rudamina landed in Goa on August 22, 1625, after five months at sea.

Lithuanian ambassador to India Laimonas Talat- Kelpsa and Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao of Goa and Daman unveiled on Sunday a white marble stone paying tribute to the very first Lithuanian, a Jesuit, to visit India back in the early 17th century.
An adventurous Jesuit priest Andrius Rudamina (1596- 1631) wrote multiple letters and pleaded with his superiors to grant him permission to set out on a mission to the East.
"He was a compassionate man and told his superiors that he really needed to go. He demonstrated how ambitious the people of a small nation like Lithuania were in the past. His life reminds us that no matter how ambitious you may be, you have to be humble, compassionate and committed as well," Laimonas told the gathering in the vicinity of Se Cathedral in Old Goa
He said the Jesuit's visit was the beginning of Lithuania's history with India, said a report in the Times of India daily.
The memorial stone was installed next to the monument of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in front of Se Cathedral and was a joint project of the Lithuanian embassy and the archdiocese of Goa and Daman.
Archbishop of Goa and Daman Fr Filipe Neri Ferrao said Laimonas' enthusiasm represents the zeal of the Lithuanian Catholic community, which must be admired and emulated.
Rudamina landed in Goa on August 22, 1625, after five months at sea. He soon earned a reputation of a compassionate and devoted man attending to the sick and elderly in hospital. 
His stay in Goa was short-lived and even before completing a year, he contracted malaria and was transferred to China where he continued to work and immerse himself in the complexities of Chinese customs. He died prematurely at the age of 35 and was buried in Fuzhou where his grave stands to this day.
Fr Savio Barreto SJ, rector of Bom Jesus Basilica said he was filled with joy at the unveiling of the memorial stone of a fellow Jesuit predecessor. "He is a great inspiration to us and represented the true essence of the Jesuit spirit when he set out so far to spread the good news."
Source: Times of India

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