To celebrate the feast of St. Justin de Jacobis July 31 here are some excerpts from the Vincentian Encyclopedia biography of St. Justin…
“Ethiopia was not like most missionary territories. It was not a country with a pagan population who had to be converted to Christianity. It had been Christian since the 4th century, but had slipped into schism and heresy. There had been several previous attempts to establish the Catholic Church there but none of them had succeeded. At the time of Justin’s arrival there was not even one Ethiopian Catholic in the country.”
A challenging life…
For the remaining eleven years until his death in 1860 Justin’s life was a series of problems, harassment, persecution, and even a spell of imprisonment, all originating in the opposition of the Orthodox Coptic bishop. With the exception of one young confrere, Carlo Delmonte, all Justin’s fellow-Vincentians disagreed with Justin’s missionary methods, especially with regard to indigenous clergy. Even the confrere who was to be his coadjutor bishop, Lorenzo Biancheri, who had the right of succession, said openly that when he succeeded Justin he did not intend to continue Justin’s missionary methods, especially in the matter of building up a body of indigenous clergy. He had anticipated by more than a century what Vatican II and Paul VI’s Evangelii nuntiandi would say about missiology….
He is considered an apostle to Africa, and the founder of the Abyssinian mission. Blessed Ghebre Michael is among the estimated 12,000 converts he made in his time.
Other links from the same article…
the First Justin de Jacobis By Biagio Falco, C.M.
Devotion to St. Justin de Jacobis in Eritrea and Ethiopia By Iyob Ghebresellasie, C.M.
Justin de Jacobis: The Art of Dialogue by Professor Yaqob Beyené
Edited And Unedited Writings of St. Justin De Jacobisby Giuseppe Guerra, CM
Bibliography of St. Justin De Jacobis. Biographies and Studies. By Luigi Nuovo, C.M.