THE PAULINE PIONEERS IN INDIA
The first two Paulines the Founder had sent to India in 1935 were Frs. Domenico Ambrosio and Guido Paganini. They tried to establish an SSP house in Delhi, but before the end of the year Fr Paganini went to Japan and in his place Fr Vico Anselm was sent but due to illness he had to go back to Italy. Soon after Fr. Ambrosio too had to go back to Italy without fulfilling the desire of the Founder.
Fr Alfonso Battista Ferrero is the most prominent pauline behind the establishment and growth of the Society of St Paul in India, and as such, he is to be considered as the founder of the St Pauls in India. He was born on June 4, 1909 in Santa Vittoria DAlba in north Italy. He was the only son of his parents. He joined the SSP at the age of 10 and was ordained a priest
at the age of 23 on Dec. 17, 1932. The Founder sent him to India in 1937. First he was in Delhi and then came to Allahabad in 1939 with the determination of starting a house in the city. He started the St Pauls Press at 28-B, Chatham Lines, but it could not function for more than one year since he, being an Italian, was interned in Agra by the ruling British Government as the World War II began and as Britain was against Italy in the War. From Agra Fr Ferrero was shifted to Ahmednagar and then to Dehra Doon. After 76 months of internment he was released. Back in Allahabad, he managed to establish a house here on a firm footing. Later he opened the SSP houses in Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and Ernakulam. In the campus of the SSP house in Allahabad a parish Church was built in 1954 under the patronage of Mary, Queen of the Apostles. Owing to ill-helath he was compelled to go to Rome for medical treatment, and there the Lord called him to his eternal reward on October 9, 1996.
Fr Gabriel Colasanto was born in Italy on Nov. 26, 1907. After his ordination in 1934 he was sent to India in 1937, but due to ill-health he went back to Italy in 1938 and returned to India in 1949. He was the Superior of the Community of Allahabad for a term of three years and was Novice Master for many years. He supervised the construction of the House in Bangalore and was its first Superior. Later on, at his old age, he was called back to Rome where he passed away on Oct. 13, 1993.
Br Bernardino Ruffoli came to India along with Fr Gabriel Colasanto in 1937. Since he was an Italian, the British Government in India arrested him and put him into concentration camp in 1941 for four years. After his release he was the Procurator of the house of Allahabad. In 1968 he was called back to Rome and there he died on June 5, 1995.
Br Pio Rizzo arrived in 1948 first in Allahabad as a mechanic and printer, and later on moved to Mumbai where he was manager of the Examiner Bookshop. In 1980 he left India to be the Manager of St Paul Book Centre at Athlone in Ireland where he is at present.
Fr Ettore Diamantini came to india in 1950. He was in Allahabad first and then, till 1976, he was in Mumbai as the Vice-Superior and the Master of Aspirants. In 1976 he was called back to Rome for medical treatment, and in 1977 appointed him as the Superior Generals Delegate in Ireland. From Ireland he came to Rome for a medical check up and died in Ancona, his native place in Italy, on June 19, 1981.
Fr Joseph Maurus Ferrero landed in india in 1951. He taught Latin and Philosophy to our students in the house of Allahabad . He organised systematically "St Paul Publications" in India and authored and edited, under the name "J.Maurus", many books. He was the Superior of the house of Allahabad and later on of the house of Mumbai. At present he is the Chaplain of the "Queen of the Apostles" hospital that is run by the Pauline family in Albano, near Rome, from where he continues to write books.
Fr Antonio Rossi came to India in 1951. He was in-charge of printing in Allahabad and later on in Mumbai. At present he is the Chaplain of the Traumatolagic hospital, near the Provincial House of the SSP in Rome.
Fr Attilio Tempra was sent to India in 1952. He was the Superior of the Mumbai house till 1963. He organised the Examiner Bookshop making it one of the best Catholic Bookshops in the whole of Asia, initiated the distribution of
Catholic films, expanded the house and started accepting aspirants to the SSP. After an year in Allahabad, in 1964 he started the House and Book Centre in New Delhi. At present he is in retirement in Albano, near Rome.
Other Paulines from abroad who worked in India for some years are: Fr Vincent Ryan from Ireland, Fr Aurelio Marzilli from Italy, and Fr Joseph Chircop from Malta.
First Indian Paulines are: Br Timothy Tirkey, Fr Paul Vechoor, Br Thomas Cornelio, Fr Alphonso Rego, Br Mathew Kottoor, and Br Angelo Pullokaren.
The first Indian Provincial is Fr Anselm Poovathanikunnel. He was Provincial for two consecutive terms and after him Fr Paul Vechoor for one term followed by Fr Jose Pottayil for two terms. Fr Anselm is again appointed Provincial in 1998.
Indian General Counsellors in Rome: Fr Paul Vechoor was General Counsellor of the SSP General House in Rome for one term, Br Basil Chennamkulam for two terms, and currently Fr Jose Pottayil renders this service as General Counsellor.