Devotion to St. Justin de Jacobis in Eritrea and Ethiopia

by | Jul 26, 2020 | Congregation of the Mission, Formation

St. Justin de Jacobis, C.M. (feast day: July 30) faced many challenges and hardships:
His family was quite wealthy but his father mismanaged the family finances and they had to move from their ancestral home in the country to take up residence in Naples, dropping to a lower standard of living
He was among the priests who ministered during the cholera epidemic in Naples in 1836-1837
At the time of Justin’s arrival as a missionary in Ethiopia in 1839, Catholic priests were liable to immediate execution if discovered, so Justin and two other Vincentian priests celebrated Mass in hiding
He was ordained a bishop in secret in 1849
For the remaining 11 years until his death in 1860, Justin’s life was a series of problems, harassment, and persecution
In 1860 the new king of Ethiopia prohibited Catholicism and Justin was imprisoned for several months. He spent the remaining months of his life in missionary work along the Red Sea. He died on July 31, 1860 of a tropical fever while on a missionary trip.


Despite all this, St. Justin consecrated 20 priests and made 5,000 converts. St. Justin is considered an apostle to Africa and the founder of the Abyssinian (today, Ethiopian and Eritrean) mission.

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