A Jesuit missionary, born in London, of Catholic parents, 1571; died at Rio de Janeiro, 24 September, 1653. His real name was Meade, but it was changed into Almeida, because of his Portuguese surroundings. He was one of the most conspicuous of the disciples of the Venerable Joseph Anchieta, the illustrious missionary of Brazil, almost equalling him in the rigor of his austerities, the character and number of his miracles, and the heroism of his missionary exploits. At the age ten he was sent, some say by his parents, to Viana in Portugal. But he himself writes that he was taken away, in the absence of his parents, by someone he did not know. He was adopted by the family of Benedict de Rocha, with whom, at the age of seventeen, he went to Brazil to engage in mercantile pursuits. He narrates that on the way out he fell overboard, but was, as he thought, almost miraculously saved. He did not continue in business, as was intended, but began a course of studies at a College of the Society of Jesus. At the age of twenty-one, he became a Jesuit. After one year of noviceship, he was sent to the city of Santo Spirito, where he met Anchieta, whom he adopted as his model. He life there and up to an extreme old age, reads like a story of the ancient Fathers of the Desert. Whatever time could be spared from his active duties was given up to contemplation, to fastings, watchings, disciplines, and other austerities. The sufferings he inflicted on his body almost cause a shudder, yet singularly enough they seem to have had no effect upon his health, although he continued them almost to the day of his death. Hair shirts, iron chains, and metal plates with sharp points almost covered his entire body. He was ordained a priest in 1602 and spent many years of wandering through the forests to reclaim the fierce cannibals who lived there. He always journeyed on foot, and no matter how rugged the way or how exhausted his strength he would not permit himself to be carried. His food was what he gathered as he journeyed from one place to the other. Some who accompanied him on his missions testified under oath that for six or seven years they never say him taste fish or flesh, or lie on a bed, but that he spent most of the night sitting or kneeling at prayer, which was not only protracted, but almost bewildering in the number of devotions he practiced. Many miracles are ascribed to him, and his prophetic utterances were frequent. Not only did he pass unharmed among the fierce animal tribes, but he so won their affection that they did all in their power to prevent him from being taken away from them for other missions. He died in the Jesuit College of Rio de Janeiro, having reached the extraordinary are of eighty-two years, despite his austerities and the privations of his missionary career. The news of his approaching end filled the city with anxiety and concern. "The saint is dying" was heard on all sides, and the scenes at his funeral, and the miracles that are recorded as wrought at that time form a chapter in the colony's history. De Vasconcellos, Life of John Almeida; Records of the English Province S.J.; Foley, General statistics, I, 499, II, 1321, the latter, a translation from Moore's History of the English Province S.J.
Risen Christ Holy Card
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online