News Detail
Jesuit Father Ante Gabric
Croatian Missionary Jesuit Father Ante Gabric Eligible for Sainthood

September 21, 2016 — The canonization of Mother Teresa of Kolkata on Sept. 4 has prompted reflection on the impact she had on the communities she served in India. Now her fellow missionary and friend, Jesuit Father Ante Gabric who also dedicated his life to serving the poor, has begun to garner more attention for his service in the region.

Fr. Gabric was a Croatian Jesuit whose mission work took him to Bengal, India, in 1938, where he spent 50 years working alongside the poor. 

Jesuit Father Irudaya Jothi, the Society of Jesus’ episcopal delegate for causes of beatification and canonization, has begun an investigation of the testimonies for Fr. Gabric's beatification.

“On his 25th death anniversary I was in Croatia preaching in the churches … the whole of Croatia is very proud of him and want to see him made a saint along with Mother Teresa who was his close friend,” Fr. Jothi said.

Fr. Gabric was born on Feb. 28, 1915, the eighth of nine children in Metkovic, Croatia. From a young age, he was greatly influenced by the Franciscans who ministered to his home parish. He was fascinated by the role of priests and eagerly volunteered as an altar boy to help with the Eucharist.

By the age of 18, Fr. Gabric had expressed his intent to join the Society of Jesus. “My main reason is: there I will be able to do a lot of work for Jesus, for his glory, and to make a complete sacrifice for Him. I also have a desire to go to the missions in India,” he said. 

On July 31, St. Ignatius’ feast day, he was accepted into the novitiate at Jordanovac in Zagreb. Shortly thereafter, Fr. Gabric received special permission from the Father General of the Society of Jesus to become a missionary in India.

On Oct. 20, 1938, Fr. Gabric left for India to serve the people in the Sundarbans, a cluster of islands in the Bay of Bengal. 

Though at times visibly ill, Fr. Gabric relentlessly navigated the rough terrain to reach those in need of his service and love. 

In the face of frequent natural disasters, Fr. Gabric worked tirelessly to clothe the naked, feed the hungry and care for the sick. His prolific letter writing to friends, family and benefactors aided in these endeavors. 

Fr. Gabric not only helped provide food and money to the needy, but also introduced vocational training to promote economic empowerment and upward mobility. These income-generating programs included carpentry, embroidery and tailoring, among others. Today, a majority of the tailors in the Sundarbans owe their training to the tailoring school pioneered by Fr. Gabric .

Fr. Gabric died in India on Oct. 20, 1988 — exactly 50 years after he arrived in the country.

His efforts to improve the lives of the Bengali people earned him the name “Apostle of the Sundarbans.” Today, many Catholic homes in the Sundarbans display pictures of Fr. Gabric at the altar. [Sources: CruxCrown]

Recent News

October 18, 2018 — The Jesuits issued a statement of continued solidarity with the people of Nicaragua on the six-month anniversary of nonviolent protests.

October 17, 2018 — On Oct. 20, the Catholic Church will beatify Jesuit Father Tiburcio Arnaiz Muñoz in Málaga, Spain, where he is recognized as “apostle of the city.”

October 17, 2018 — On October 14, Pope Francis canonized a pope and a martyr: Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Oscar Romero of San Salvador, El Salvador.

October 15, 2018 — Prevain Devendran was selected to be a collaborator at the 2018 Synod of Bishops.

October 12, 2018 — On this day in 1963, U.S. Jesuit Father Walter Ciszek arrived in New York after 23 years in Russia in Siberian labor camps and Soviet prisons.

October 5, 2018 — Known as "The Magis," the guesthouse provides a place where Jesuits and other religious can recharge.

October 4, 2018 — Pope Francis asked bishops to be bold, honest, open-minded, charitable and, especially, prayerful as they begin the three-week meeting.

view all news

Search news

Since St. Ignatius bought a printing press in 1556, the Jesuits have been involved in communications. Today the Society of Jesus publishes a number of award-winning journals and publications. Click below to access our latest issues.

America 10/15/18

America 10/1/18

America 9/17/18

Eastern Point Retreat House
Eastern Point Retreat House, a grand house located on the Atlantic shore in Gloucester, Mass., has been welcoming retreatants since 1958.