THE BOMBAY SEMINARY: Tribute to the Jesuits
To speak of the Administration and Staff of the Diocesan Seminary of Bombay necessarily leads one to speak first of the Society of Jesus. The association of the members of the Society of Jesus with the Seminary has over the centuries, been of a close and intimate character. Fr. Comes, son of Ignatius, though he did not employ the exact phrase, regarded that association in terms of a “love relationship”-the relationship of a mother for her child.
Expanding that analogy we see that love relationship between the Jesuits and Seminary as passing through three stages: (a) the first stage ended with the death of their adopted child; (b) in the second stage they brought the child they were entrusted with to the stage adolescence and (c) in the third stage, they have released the adolescent that it may develop toward mature adulthood under the direction of Diocesan Clergy.
The First Period of Jesuit Administration (1855-1900)
…the relationship between the Society of Jesus and the Seminary goes way back to February 1855, when the Seminary returning from Surat, was…entrusted to the Jesuits who housed it in the original St. Peter’s building at Bandra…it traveled from Bandra to Cavel, to Mazagon, and then to Dhobitalao all through the days of Fathers Anthony Pereira, Serraset, Meurin, Willy, Peterson, Leiter, and others whose names are unknown. They fed, nourished, and sacrificed for their child, at great costs, and with many tears, as they struggled to find it a permanent home…But notwithstanding all their diligence and sacrifice their adopted child died in 1900 when the Seminary was closed and its students sent to the Papal Seminary newly-opened at Kandy.
The Second Period of Jesuit Administration (1936-1971)
…With the location of the Seminary settled by the end of 1935…the Archbishop (Lima) approached Fr. Conget, the new Jesuit Superior, and asked him if the Society of Jesus was prepared to run the Seminary. Fr. Conget consulted his General in Rome who answered saying that he considered the work of the Seminary of such importance for the glory of God and the good of the Church that the Fathers should not hesitate to undertake it, even at the cost of any sacrifice. From hindsight now, we cannot but rejoice in the General’s wisdom and prophetic insight!