St. Jesuit André de Soveral, SJ
Jesuit André de Soveral Among New Saints Canonized by Pope Francis

October 16, 2017 — Yesterday, Pope Francis canonized 35 new saints, including Brazilian Jesuit St. André de Soveral.

The newest Jesuit saint was one of the 30 “Martyrs of Natal” who were also canonized; they were killed in 1645 in a wave of anti-Catholic persecution carried out by Dutch Calvinists in Natal, Brazil. 

St. de Soveral was born in Brazil in 1572 and entered the Society of Jesus in 1593. His first missionary experience was in Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil, in 1606 among the Potiguar Indios. In 1614, he began serving as a pastor in Cunhau in Natal.

On July 16, 1645, Fr. de Soveral was celebrating Mass in Cunhau when Dutch Calvinist soldiers burst into the chapel, attacked the faithful and killed Fr. de Soveral. About three months later, a diocesan priest, Fr. Ambrosio Francisco Ferro, and his parishioners were killed by the soldiers. 

A banner of the "Martyrs of Natal," Brazil, hangs from the facade of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. Jesuit André de Soveral is pictured on the left. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

The 30 individuals martyred in these two events were beatified by St. John Paul II in 2000; in March of this year, Pope Francis signed a decree that approved their canonization while waiving the miracle required for sainthood.

Saints like the Martyrs of Natal offer a “new opportunity, hope and a renewal of faith” that can bring peace to a world battered by injustice, war and violence, said Brazilian Archbishop Jaime Vieira Rocha.

“The grace of their canonization will certainly help create a society that is less vengeful, less violent, more fraternal,” and encourage Catholics to stand up “for the dignity of the people,” he said. 

The other saints canonized yesterday included three children, ages 12 and 13, who were indigenous persons in Mexico martyred in the 1520s for refusing to renounce their Catholic faith. The other two new saints are a 20th-century priest from Spain, Faustino Miguez, and an Italian priest, Angelo of Acri, who died in 1739. [Sources: Australian Jesuits, CNS,, AP]

Recent News

March 13, 2018 — Fr. Michael Boughton, SJ, will serve at the BCSTM; Fr. Martin Connell, SJ, will serve at JST.

March 10, 2018 — Today the Society of Jesus celebrates the feast day of Saint John Ogilvie, SJ, a Jesuit martyr.

March 8, 2018 — Jesuit Refugee Service/USA has appointed Joan Rosenhauer to serve as the first woman in the role.

March 7, 2018 — March 9 marks the 450th anniversary of the birth of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, SJ.

March 6, 2018 - Fr. James W. O’Neil, SJ, was called to eternal life at the age of 96 on March, 3 2018. Fr. O’Neil was born on April 12, 1921, and entered the Society of Jesus on Dec. 2, 1947. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 15, 1957, and pronounced his Final Vows on June 2, 1989. He was the oldest member of the province.

March 5, 2018 - In his March prayer video, Pope Francis spoke on his intention of spiritual discernment. “Every Christian ought to grow in the ability to ‘read within’ his or her life, and to understand where and to what he or she is being called by the Lord, in order to carry on his mission,” said Pope Francis.

Feb. 28, 2018 - Fr. Donald J. Keefe, SJ, was called to eternal life on Feb. 27, 2018, at Murray-Weigel Hall, Bronx, N.Y. He was born on July 14, 1924, entered the Society of Jesus at St. Andrew-on-Hudson, Poughkeepsie, N.Y., on Sept. 7, 1953, and was ordained on June 20, 1962, at Canisius College, Buffalo, N.Y. He pronounced his final vows on Feb. 2, 1971.

view all news

Search news

Loyola House of Retreats
Loyola House of Retreats is located on 30 acres of beautiful lawns, gardens and woodland in a quiet section of Morristown, N.J.