ST. JOSEPH VAZ APOSTLE OF SRI LANKA
FIRST EDITION, [xxviii] + 354 pp. small 4to, contemporary speckled leather, joints worn, small patch of leather missing from lower board,
Not recorded in COPAC. No copy in Worldcat, apart from a copy recorded in the BL, which is not found in the BL catalogue. Joseph Vaz (1651-1711) was a Goan missionary of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri.
He was Superior of the missions at Canará from 1681-84, and in 1687 sailed for Ceylon where he ministered at Kandy.
The Portuguese had been expelled from Ceylon in 1656-58, and Roman Catholic converts were persecuted, but the Catholic community survived because of the labours of Vaz and his followers.
They "gave the Catholics in the lowlands the moral and material leadership necessary for their survival under a persecuting Calvinistic regime.
Indian Brahmenes by origin, they could circulate in disguise with relative ease, and they re-established the connection between the Ceylon Catholics and their co-religionists on the mainland" (Boxer, The Portuguese Seaborne Empire, p. 244).
By the time of his death, Vaz had managed to rebuild the Catholic Church on the island
The book is of particular importance because it was published 34 years after Vaz had died and when many people still remained who had known him and had witnessed the facts related.
A petition for his canonization was presented to the Holy See in 1737, and he was created a saint in 2015 by Pope Francis.
The work was translated into several languages, and first appeared in English in 1848, printed in Colombo.
Stock ref: 14287