The Early Years

Jesuits at mass at St Xavier's College chapel, Mumbai
Bishop Anastasius Hartmann
Bishop Anastasius Hartmann

The modern history of the Jesuits in Western India began in Bombay in 1854. Bishop Anastasias Hartmann OFM Cap., Vicar Apostolic of Bombay, invited the Jesuits to Bombay. In response to his request, in 1854, the German Jesuit Province (the Swiss and some Austrians also belonged to the German Province at that time) was entrusted with the new Vicariate of Bombay-Poona, and in 1858 with the large territory of the ‘Bombay Mission’ which extended from Quetta to Hubli.
Inception of the Bombay Mission in 1854 - Origins et Evolutionis Regionum Provinciarum, Archivum Romanum S. I.

Some of the early educational institutions started by the Jesuits in Bombay were St. Stanislaus High School (1863), St. Mary’s High School (1865) and St. Xavier’s High School (1869). The climax of their efforts was the starting of St. Xavier’s College, Bombay (1869), a prestigious institute of higher learning till this day. In addition to their educational efforts, they looked after parishes in railway centres and military cantonments.

After being designated as a Vice Province for some time, Bombay finally became a full-fledged Jesuit Province on 12 May 1956. Fr Aloysius Coyne was named the first Provincial of the Bombay Province.