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Balthasar Seña

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Indian missionary and philologist, b. at Barcelona, Spain, about 1590; d. at Guarambare, Paraguay, 19 July, 1614. He entered the Jesuit novitiate at Tarragona, Aragon, in 1608. Before completing his studies he volunteered for the Guarani missions of Paraguay, and sailed from Lisbon in company with the veteran missionary, Father Juan Romero, in 1610, continuing his studies on the voyage. The rest of his life was spent at the Guarani mission town of Guarambare or with the uncivilized cognate tribe of Itatines, whose language he studied and reduced to dictionary form. He was distinguished and beloved among the Indians for his virtues and for his courage in defense of the natives against the slave-dealers, declining offered preferment at Sante Fe in order to remain with his mission work. After ministering without fear to the sick throughout a contagious epidemic, he was himself seized by a fever, for which no medicine could be procured, and succumbed to it after intense suffering. His remains were afterwards taken up and reinterred at the Jesuit college at Asuncion.

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