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Down the Corridors of Time

"They shall live forever.....whose memory we shall here honour"

This section has articles on personalities that have shaped the KCA, and the Mangalorean Catholic community's journey in Mumbai over the last 115 years. We dedicate this section to the stalwarts of KCA, remembering and noting their contributions as pioneers, and as Members of the KCA.

Dr. Fabian Fernandes

posted Sep 26, 2018, 5:13 AM by IT Administrator   [ updated Sep 26, 2018, 7:22 AM ]

Desire is the key to motivation, but it's determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal - a commitment to excellence - that will enable you to attain the success you seek".  Mario Andretti

No one exemplified this quote more than Dr. Fabian Fernandes.

In keeping with this Issue's theme of Excellence, the KCA takes you 'Down the Corridors of Time' to highlight one of India's most eminent microbiologists, a scientist of international repute, a Mangalorean and a former President of the KCA, Dr. Fabian Fernandes, M.Sc, Ph.D.

Dr. Fernandes was born in Kemman, Kallianpur, on August 29, 1917, the oldest of eight children of Michael and Cecilia Fernandes.  He did his basic schooling in Kemman, and then moved to Bombay to complete his studies at St. Xavier's College.  After finishing his Master's in Microbiology, the field he excelled in, he was on the Staff of the College from 1941 to 1959.

He received his Ph.D in Microbiology in 1951, and in 1953 was made Head of the Department of Microbiology.  He left St. Xavier's in 1959 to join the Ciba-Geigy Research Centre.  By now, he had established himself as a scientist of repute, having published over 30 research papers in Indian and international scientific journals.  He traveled abroad extensively to lecture, to attend symposia, study tours and workshops; and was a high ranking Member of several national and international bodies on Microbiology.  He was presented with the highest International Cell Research Organisation Award.  He was a Member of the Bombay University Senate for over 25 years.

Despite his busy academic schedule, he still made time for various civic and social services.   He was a Justice of the Peace, and a Special Executive Magistrate for ten years.  He was the Vice-President of the Catholic Gymkhana for over 12 years.  He was Vice-President of the National Advisory Council to the Catholic Bishops Conference of India.

He was also President of the KCA for four consecutive years from 1971 - 1975.  As President, he stressed on the need to increase the membership of the KCA, which in those years was a meagre 300.  In his first year as President, he hoped to get more Mangaloreans to join the KCA, and set a target of achieving a total membership of 2000.  With a view to attracting more Members, he initiated the weekly Housie sessions, which proved to be very popular.  He also encouraged the annual dances and picnics, which the Members looked forward to.

In 1972, along with the Managing Council, he got the Rules and Regulations of the KCA amended to be more inclusive and non-sectarian, while not diluting the main characteristic of the Association.  The purview of the Balloting Committee was enhanced and strengthened.  During his tenure, the KCA started the Scholarship Fund to assist students who could not pay their fees.

In 1975, he proposed holding the AGM after a Thanksgiving Mass, and quipped that because of this, for the very first time in his Presidency, there was a quorum for the AGM!  He lamented that the KCA had not managed to increase its membership substantially, and that due to work-related issues, he was stepping down as President.  This was also because 1976 would be the 75th year of the KCA's existence, and a robust team needed to be in place to plan the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations.  Dr. Stany Patrao was elected as the next President.

Mr. G J Saldanha spoke very highly of Dr. Fernandes, and thanked him for his services to the KCA.  Despite his extremely busy schedule, Dr. Fernandes had made the time to attend every single Meeting of the Managing Council.  He often visited the hostel, and helped to resolve several problems.  He was keen that the KCA reach out to more Mangaloreans, and encourage them to meet and bond, and also offer help to youngsters arriving in Bombay for work by providing accommodations at the hostel at reasonable rates.

Dr. Fernandes was married to Grace D'Souza, and was the father of Margaret, Maria, Peter, John, Teresa, and Veera; 4 of whom are Doctors.  He was a loving grandfather to 14 grandchildren, 3 of whom are Doctors, 3 in Medical School, and perhaps, more will follow suit!  Dr. Fernandes excelled not only in science, but also in the culinary arts.  He was renowned for his culinary skills in traditional Mangalorean dishes, and all his children remember his prowess in the kitchen, and delicious curries!

Dr. Fernandes spent his final years in the United States with his children, and passed away peacefully on July 15, 2007, and is buried in Sts. Peter and Paul Cemetery in Philadelphia.       

Jerome Antony Saldanha

posted Sep 7, 2018, 11:03 PM by IT Administrator   [ updated Sep 8, 2018, 4:32 AM ]

By Dr. Kranti K Farias

KCA presents to you another eminent personality in the community, the Late Jerome Antony Saldanha, who was President of the Kanara Catholic Association, and known for his service to the community, to society, and in public life.  This is a commemorative article as their tribute in the 150th year of his birth.

Jerome Antony Saldanha was born on April 25, 1868; one year before the Mahatma.  He was affectionately called 'Jerome Bab' by all those who knew him in Mangalore, and in Bombay.  His father, Mr. Joseph S Saldanha of the Gadialgar Saldanha family, retired as Huzur Sheristadar of the District Court, Mangalore.  His mother was Mrs. Delphine Saldanha of the Umzoor Saldanha family.  He married Monica (Mocubai) daughter of Mr. Salvadore Pais, Coffee Planter, Mangalore.  They had three sons, and three daughters.

Jerome studied in St. Aloysius College, Mangalore, till his F.A. and then in the St. Joseph's College, Tiruchirapalli, from where he passed his B.A,.  Then, he went to Bombay, where he got his LL.B. Degree.  He even passed the Marathi Examination held before the Central Committee for Departmental Examinations in Bombay on March 25, 1901.

Judicial Career 

Mr. Saldanha joined the Service of the Bombay Government on October 5, 1892.  He held appointments in the Secretariat, Judicial, and Political Departments at Bombay from October 1892 till May 1901.  He had postings and promotions to various parts of India.  His services were placed temporarily at the disposal of the Government of India, Foreign Department, Simla, from June 28, 1904 till March 31, 1906.  He was promoted as Assistant Judge and Assistant Sessions Judge of Thana in September 1914.  He was soon invested with the powers of an Additional Sessions Judge.  From June 1920 till January 1921, he was deputed for drafting the Karachi Municipal Bill.  He became Joint District Judge and Additional Judge of Dharwar in November 1921, and was transferred in the same capacity to Thana in January 1923.  He retired from Government Service on April 25, 1923. 

Scholar and Writer

Mr. Saldanha was a noted Scholar and Writer.  He took keen interest in ethnology, and was elected President of the Anthropological Society of Bombay in 1923.  He wrote several articles in the 'Mangalore Magazine', and other journals on the history of Kanara, the Konkani language, and other subjects.  He also wrote articles in the Bombay Law Journals.  His books were 1) Indian Castes, Vol. 1, Konkani Castes 2) Notes on the First Englishmen in India and other subjects 3) Savantvadi Legal and Judicial Manual 4) The Law of Salsette Land and Town Development 5) Hints to Jurors and Assessors 6) 'Hints on Civil Ecclesiastical Law in India' and 'Notes on Canon Law', edited jointly with Father A Marcy S.J., the well-known authority on Canon Law.

With special interest in the cultivation of the Konkani Language and Literature, he delivered scholarly lectures in Mangalore, and under the auspices of the Kanara Catholic Association, on 'Kanara Catholics' and on 'A Honor for our Community'.

Post-retirement activity - as Legislator and Nationalist

After retiring from Government Service, Mr. Saldanha settled down in Mangalore.  He got elected in 1923 to the Madras Legislative Council, first as an Independent Candidate from the West Coast Indian Christian Constituency, then got re-elected in 1926 as Congress Party Candidate having joined the Indian National Congress in 1925.  In 1937, he stood for Election to the Madras Legislative Council, and won as a Member of the People's Party.  On the latter becoming defunct after some time, he joined the National Democratic Party.

His son, the late Gerald J Saldanha, also a former President of KCA writes, "It was a great event in our life when my father, as the President of the South Kanara District Congress Committee, had the honour and priviledge of presiding at a public meeting addressed by Mahatma Gandhi some time in 1929."

J.A. Saldanha stood for self-government for India within the British Commonwealth, and for Joint Electorates.  He was in the Chair at a meeting held at the Balmatta Boys School on May 3, 1932 to further the 'Buy Indian' Movement.  The Kanara Indian Christian Civic League of which he was a Member, on October 15, 1932 resolved that the League favoured Joint Electorates with reservation of seats for Indian Christians and safeguards for ensuring election of candidates acceptable to the community.  The committee supported the 'Quit India' movement and required all Members to help that Movement.

His work for the Kanara Catholic Association, Bombay.

At the AGM of the Aloysians in Bombay on May 29, 1898, with Mr. D B Pinto, B.A., in the Chair, it was unanimously resolved that an Association be formed for the furtherance of common interests of the former pupils of St. Aloysius College, Mangalore.  J.A. Saldanha, was elected President.  This was the precursor of the Kanara Catholic Association of Bombay (KCA).

Jerome A Saldanha was one of the Founder Members of the KCA formed in 1901, when he was elected Vice President, and then again in 1917 and 1918.  He was elected President in 1907, 1908, 1909, 1915, and 1920.  He joined Messrs.  F.A.C. Rebello, F.L. Silva, and others in founding and fostering institutions and Co-operative Housing Societies for Catholics in Bombay at Bandra, and in other suburbs including the formation of the Mangalorean Co-operative Housing Society, which consisted almost entirely of KCA Members.  He worked for the amelioration of Catholics in the city, especially of those coming from Mangalore, getting them jobs through his recommendation.  The Kanara Catholic Association presented him with a Gold Medal in 1918 as a token of appreciation of his services.  Mr. Saldanha was appointed Justice of the Peace, and this was considered a great honour to the community.

It was at the SpGM of 1919 that Rules of KCA were amended.  Mr. Saldanha moved a Resolution to start a Fund for the poor of the community called the 'St. Anthony's League'.  Poor Mangaloreans had to be identified, and loans given to those coming to Bombay, and without means to start life.  The funds had to be raised through donations to the League.

The KCA Sporting Club was started at this time under KCA Rule 31(a), proposed by Mr. Isidore Coelho, and strongly supported by Mr. J.A. Saldanha.  Rule 50 was introduced to admit ladies as Founders, Benefactors, Donors, or Life Members, and also Ordinary Members.  However, they were not allowed to vote, nor were Student Members.  Mr. J.A. Saldanha also proposed that the Association be registered under the Societies Registration Act.  The Resolution seconded by Mr. J.L. Saldanha was put to vote and was carried unanimously.


The 75th Birthday of Jerome A Saldanha, which fell on April 25 was celebrated with great joy with a public felicitation in Mangalore, with an address read by Mr. C.L. Lobo, Vice-Chairman, detailing the various activities of Mr. Saldanha, and the unveiling of his photo by Dr. L Fernandes.  A Thanksgiving Mass was celebrated for the Golden Wedding of Jerome and Monica Saldanha on January 28, 1944 at the Milagres Church.

Mr. Saldanha dies on March 8, 1947.  He was buried in the Milagres Church, Mangalore.  There was an extremely large crowd showing the esteem in which the deceased was held amongst all classes.  In the Mangalore Municipal Council, a Resolution was passed on March 10, placing on record its sorrow on his demise, and its appreciation of the great services rendered by him to the town, during the time he was a Member of the Council.

"When you meet a man, you judge him by his clothes; when you leave, you judge him by his heart".  (Russian Proverb)

This is our thought, as we think of this noble soul.


1. KCA AGM and Minutes of the Managing Council.
2. Souvenir of the Golden Jubilee of the KCA, 1951.
3. Notes by Dr. Michael Lobo (extracts from the 'Mangalore Magazine', Mangalore.
4. Dr. Kranti Farias, "The Christian Impact in South Kanara".   
5. Church History Association of India, Bombay, 1999, pp.258 ff.                          

Justice Mark S Noronha

posted May 5, 2018, 3:05 AM by IT Administrator   [ updated May 9, 2018, 2:09 AM ]

By Dr. Kranti K Farias

We have moved down the corridor, and when we have mulled over the thoughts, and the ways of our predecessors, we hope we have taken the path to follow their vision for a better tomorrow for our community in particular, and for the society, at large.

I begin with a quote, as I usually do, from the Hadis "Truth leads to righteousness, and righteousness to heaven".  Tagore cannot be outdone for he says, "All proofs of truth are credentials of relationship".

With these two thoughts on truth, we present to you another eminent personality, former President of the Kanara Catholic Association, Justice Mark S Noronha.  We are proud that we had as our President, and in our community a good Catholic, and one also well respected by the legal fraternity.  I have not dwelt upon his practice or his judgements, as this would take pages, but the fact that he was honoured and elevated goes to show the worth of the man.

Mark Stanislaus Noronha, born on June 18, 1889, at Codialbail, Mangalore, was the youngest of seven children of Raymond Sylvester Noronha, and Helen Coelho.  His father was probably the first member of the community to earn the B.A. Degree, and who went on to be Assistant Inspector of Schools.

Mark passed his B.A. from St. Aloysius College in 1909, standing first in the Presidency in Latin.  Mark Studied at St. Aloysius School, Mangalore, and then St. Aloysius College, and was a Prizeman in Elocution. He graduated in Arts, standing first amongst all candidates in the Madras Presidency, in the First Class, in Latin.

His Career

"The precepts of law are these : to live honorably, to injure no other man, to render every man his due"....Justinian.

Mark then moved to Bombay, where he taught at St. Xavier's High School, Dhobi Talao, while he studied and practiced law.  In 1914, he enrolled as an Advocate in the Bombay High Court on the Appellate Side, and 11 years later, on the grounds of distinguished merit, and without a qualifying exam, he was admitted by Sir Norman McLeod, the then Chief Justice, as an Advocate on the Original Side.  He had a distinguished judicial career.  In October 1928, he was appointed Judge of the Court of Small Causes, Bombay, and in 1944, he was elevated as Chief Judge of the Court of Small Causes Bombay.

Personal Life
Mark married Vida Mary Margaret Saldanha (daughter of Andrew and Avita Saldanha) on April 29, 1923.  They had seven children.  Tragedy struck his family thrice - his daughter Clover was killed in a road accident in 1928; he lost his wife Vida, at the young age of 27 in 1933, to renal failure just three months after delivering their youngest child Raymond.  His sister, Mary, who lived in Bangalore helped him in raising the three girls, and the three month old Raymond.  Two sons lived with him.

His work for Kanara Catholic Association, Mumbai.

"Authority without wisdom is like a heavy axe without an edge, fitter to bruise, than to polish" - Anne Bradstreet.
His work for the KCA began as Secretary in 1913.  He was elected Vice-President in 1921; was elected President of the KCA on April 9, 1922; was on the Managing Council in 1923; elected as Vice-President in 1925, 1927, 1928, 1931, and 1932; thereafter elected President in 1936, 1937, 1938, and 1939.  The year 1937 had been one of turmoil as to the irregular mode of the conduct of elections, not having a secret ballot, and so opposed by a few Members.  However, the elections was passed by the House.

It is to be noted that this was a time when many lady Members were admitted to the Association for the first time - 23 ladies out of 81 applicants at the AGM of May 2, 1937.  His term was one of new ideas.  There was a Publications Committee formed at this time, and Mark Noronha was the Founder Editor of "The Mangalorean Review", a means by which to keep the community informed with news and views.  It was the monthly journal of the KCA, which was started in 1920 with Isidore Coelho as its Business Manager.  Mark Noronha was succeeded by Louis X Rego as Editor, and then by others who were competent Editors, too.  "The Mangalorean Review" was published till 1941, when due to the war, it was closed due to paucity of funds.

It was in the period 1922 - 1924 that the Association came to be called "The Mangalorean Catholic Association".  There was much disagreement on renaming it thus, especially expressed by the Hon'ble Dr. Major Cajetan Fernandes, Founder President, KCA, and by Robert Aranha.  The latter moved a Resolution to change the name back to Kanara Catholic Association, who had wanted the wider term "Kanara Catholic Association" to be applied to include the larger coastal Kanara area, as it was also the area in reference made by the Holy See.  After a heated discussion, the Members decided to continue the current name, and it was then that Dr. Fernandes and Marcel L Aranha, former Presidents, practically ceased to be Members of the Association.

There was a proposal in 1939 to have a building for the Association, proposed by Ernest M Alvares at the AGM of February 19, 1939.  The Sub-Committee to be formed was for the plan, money, donations / gifts, etc., and it was resolved to donate a sum of Rs. 4,000 from the funds of the Association.  However, nothing much came of this plan.

It is noted that Judge Mark Noronha was enthusiastic about sports, and charity, to the less fortunate in the community, and so the KCA Sports Club, and the St. Anthony's League found sincere support.  The "Mark Noronha Cup" was an Award for literary activities.  Mrs. Alice Alvares, then Miss Alice Sequeira, won the "KCA Mark Noronha Cup" in 1937 for being "Best Lady Speaker" at the debate held by the KCA in 1937, "Should women be allowed to act on the stage?"  She won the proposition.

Such was the presence of the community that Archbishop Goodier, S.J., Archbishop of Bombay in his message to the Kanara Catholic Association in "The Mangalorean Review" of 1924 said of it, "The Mangalorean Community has eminent members; it has also those who are dependent on others; it realises that to help these latter is no waste of energy, but in the end an increase of strength..."

Mark Noronha was President also of the Mangalorean Garden Homes Society, the Mangalorean Education Society, and the Catholic Gymkhana, Bombay.

Meera (Rego) Joshi writes, "My memories of grandpa are confined to the three years, I interacted with him (1961 - 1963), after our return from Aden.  I remember him as a very formal, westernized, and regal looking person.  He had charisma and style...wore a 'solar topi', and carried a walking stick that was more a style statement, than a support.  He had a very rigid routine, and his dinner would always be served at the appointed hour, irrespective of whether there were visitors or not!  He suffered a cerebral stroke about a year prior to his death, but did recover enough to be mobile.

Justice Mark Noronha died on August 27, 1963, and is buried in the family crypt at Sewri, Mumbai.         

Dr. A C Rebello, KCSG, MLC

posted Dec 22, 2017, 9:02 AM by IT Administrator   [ updated May 9, 2018, 1:02 AM ]

By Robin Saldanha

Dr. Alfred Camilo Rebello was born on 15th July, 1890 at Kallianpur in South Kanara. His father Peter George Rebello was the hereditary Patel and Honorary Magistrate of Kallianpur. His mother Helen (nee Aranha) was elected the first lady member of the Madras senate, as Peter was the highest tax payer in the Madras Presidency.

The young Alfred was sent to Bombay for his education at the age of 5 to the home of his uncle, the illustrious F.A.C. Rebello, Esq. BA, JP., who was the Accountant General, Bombay Presidency. He had his early primary education at St. Stanislaus School, Bandra and then passed his Senior Cambridge at St. Xavier’s High School, Bombay. His Uncle Cyril advised him to do medicine so he joined St Xavier’s College to study science. He then proceeded to Grant Medical College and secured the MBBS degree of the University of Bombay in 1913. “With the object of specializing in Diseases of the skin, I became an assistant to Dr. Major C. Fernandez, MD. I worked as his assistant for seven years. During this period, I had an opportunity of seeing and treating most of the skin infections common in the Tropics.”

The diligent and handsome Dr. Alfred fell in love with the charming, beautiful Mary Fernandez, the first born of Maj. C. Fernandez, and married her on 20th November 1920 at St. Francis Xavier Church, Dabul. The afternoon of the same day the couple sailed for Europe. 

In London, he worked under renowned Doctors at various hospitals and clinics, some of them being Dr. Graham Little of St. Mary’s Hospital, Dr. Gray of the University Hospital and Drs. Griffith, Bunch and Sibley of St. John’s Hospital. Dr Alfred so impressed the foreign doctors with his knowledge, training and professional expertise that besides working as their assistant, they even entrusted their clinics to him during their absence of leave. In France he worked as foreign assistant at the St. Louis Hospital, Paris. It was in Paris that his wife Mary gave birth to their first son, Désiré in 1921 (Dr D.J.A. Rebello who too became a famed dermatologist). 

In 1922 Dr. Alfred was awarded the Duke of Chesterfield Medal, after a competitive examination for diseases of the skin, held at St. John’s Hospital, London.   Dr. Alfred was also clinical assistant to Dr. Parsons Smith, the Dean of the National Hospital for Diseases of the Heart, London. He took the D.P.H. course in Bacteriology at the University Hospital under Drs. Teale and Embleton.

“While specializing in Skin and Venereal Diseases, I took every opportunity of keeping in touch with General Medicine by attending the various clinics at the University Hospital, the National Hospital for the Paralysed and Epileptics, the Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital and the Brompton Hospital for Chest Diseases.” He secured the D.T.M.H.(Lond) soon after. In 1923, his second son Alan was born in London (Dr. A.J.A. Rebello, KC*HS, KSG). Dr Alfred was elected Fellow of the London Dermatological Society and of the Dermatological Section of the Royal Society of Medicine (London). On his return to India he was appointed as Professor of Dermatology and Honorary Physician in the Skin Department of J.J. Hospital. 
In 1926, Dr. A. C. Rebello was appointed the First Honorary Dermatologist of the King Edward Memorial Hospital and Honorary Lecturer in Skin and Venereal diseases at the Seth Gorkhandas Sunderdas Medical College. Dr. Jivraj Mehta who was the Dean of the KEM and first CM of Gujarat held the young Dr. Rebello in high esteem and stated “due to the efforts and skills of Dr. Alfred the KEM Skin and OPD has the greatest number of daily patients for any specialized department in the hospital and is one of the largest in the country”. 

His only daughter Helen was born in 1930 and is the only surviving member of the family. In 1932 he was appointed Honorary Dermatologist of the Bai Jerbai Wadia Hospital for Children, Parel. His youngest son Peter, also a doctor, was born in 1937. 

On his retirement from these hospitals in 1946 he continued to be a Consulting Dermatologist. He was elected a Life Fellow of the G.S. Medical College and the King Edward Memorial Hospital Research Society. He was given a silver casket and silk scroll from the staff of the G.S. College and KEM Hospital. Glowing tributes poured in as he was highly respected and loved by his students, staff and doctors. “Your clinics were always a pleasure to attend and you relieved the monotony and tedium of medical teaching with witty sallies that kept our interest alive. Your lectures were appreciated not only for their knowledge imparted but also for their lucidity and thoroughness”. “The poor of this city will long remember the kindness and sympathy you have bestowed on them” Numerous medical books were dedicated to Dr. A. C. Rebello by his past students.

Dr. Rebello’s consulting rooms were in Khandelwal Bhavan on Hornby Road. He chose to set up his clinic here as it was close to Victoria Terminus and easily accessible to the hundreds of patients who used to consult him from outstation. Dr. A.C. Rebello was the leading Dermatologist of his time besides being an eminent public figure. He commanded an exhaustive practice as he was renowned for his professional skills and care, be it Maharajas, Princes, India’s leading industrialists, religious and the poor; all of whom he would attend to with the same devotion and time. His advice to his patients was ‘Shanti’, as he felt most problems were caused by worry. He once told a doctor he was treating, if you feel an itch join your hands and pray! He still managed to find time to head and be on the board of several organisations both professional and religious. His linguistic versatility was the envy of many and the admiration of all. He could speak Konkani, Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Tulu and Tamil besides being fluent in French. While in Europe he studied medicine in French, Italian and German.

The Rebello family shifted residence to Bandra in 1937. While house hunting, Mrs. Rebello chose the house Dr. Rebello used to walk past as a child on his way to school; it was called Hussein Manzil. He bought the sprawling estate, with a bungalow and 2 cottages on Hill Road and named it ‘Kallianpur’. Mrs. Rebello turned the grounds into beautiful landscaped gardens, with every possible flowering plant, fruit bearing trees, vegetables, poultry, piggery et al. Their beautiful home was open to all, numerous relatives and friends stayed with the family. It was the scene of many lavish parties, dances and dinners. In fact, the KCA held many socials at Dr. Rebello’s home as the drawing room floor made an ideal dancing hall. The spacious veranda was often used for various Catholic Association meetings.

Dr. Rebello was President of the Bombay Medical Union from 1951-52 and the President of the Indian Association of Dermatologists and Venerolgists (IADV) from 1952 to 1956. He was also an examiner of the Bombay University.

Great and substantial has been his contribution to the mitigation of Leprosy in India, which in the 1930s was more taxing and intractable than it is today. He was one of the promoters of the Indian Association of Leprologists founded in 1950 and was the Vice President for 2 terms. He was appointed to the Board of the Acworth Leprosy Home, Bombay and was responsible for instituting the Acworth Leprosy Clinic which continues to function to the great benefit of its patients. Envisaging Leprosy as a national problem he accepted nomination as Member to the Governing Body of the Indian Council of the British Empire Leprosy Relief Association, Delhi and continued to be a member of its successor body The Hind Kush Nirvan Sangh till 1954.

He was an elected Member of the Bombay State and Maharshtra Legislative Council from September 1955 to April 1962. He was a member of the K-Zone Food Committee, President of the Catholic Students Union, President of the First Bombay Catholic Youth Conference and Chairman of the Mangalorean Garden Homes Co-Op society for over 25 years. He was then elected President of the MGHCS. He gave his property on Hill Road, Bandra to revive the MGHCS, now Rebello House, refusing an offer of 20 lakhs from a Sindhi buyer in 1960. Those he trusted as friends from the MGHCS cheated him on the property transaction and taking advantage of his generosity and age, charged him for 3 flats in the society. He would often tell his family “Never trust sweet talkers”, but invariably he fell prey to them. He was Chairman of the Nasik Catholic Sanatoria Co-Op Soc Ltd. As well as a member of the Governing Body of Sophia College Bombay from 1943 and the Chairman from 1956-66.

For his distinguished service and munificent largesse to the Church, Dr. A.C. Rebello was conferred a papal knighthood; Knight Commander of the Order of St. Gregory the Great by His Holiness Pope John XXIII. The Investiture was held at St. Peter’s Church, with His Eminence Cardinal Valerian Gracias conducting the ceremony.

“Normally it is considered an honour for any leading citizen to be elected head of a cultural organisation. In the case of Dr. Alfred Camillo Rebello it is the other way about. In electing this 74-year-old eminent physician as its new President the Catholic Association of Bombay has done honour unto itself” (the Free Press Journal). Dr. Rebello, in fact, can be considered one of the “Fathers” of the CAB idea, having mooted it in 1946; insisting rightly that the movement should have its roots in parishes. Another ten years lapsed before the CAB was actually founded. With the establishment of parish units in 1958 Dr. Rebello assumed Chairmanship of St. Peter’s Unit, Bandra. “There can be no doubt with Dr. Rebello at the helm, the CAB is geared to scour newer seas and traverse newer lands”, (the CAB News Letter 1964). President of the CAB from 1964-66, during the historic days of the 38th International Eucharistic Congress, Dr. A.C. Rebello, KCSG, had the honour of receiving several dignitaries attending the Congress. The CAB also compiled the first Catholic directory, which was presented to His Holiness Pope Paul VI.

A pillar of St. Peter’s Church Bandra, Dr. Rebello founded the St. Peter’s Sodality Skin Clinic in 1946 with the co-operation of Rev. Fr Ribot, S.J., the then Rector, to cater to the needs of the poor and middle class of greater Bombay; even the neighbouring States would avail of his gratis services. Every Thursday for the next 25 years he would devote the day attending to patients, which was continued by his son Dr. D.J.A. Rebello.   A benefactor of the Church, he helped with his time and talent as well as monetarily aiding the projects of His Eminence Cardinal Valerian Gracias. Dr. Rebello was a good friend of His Grace Archbishop Roberts S.J. In fact, he spoke to the Archbishop on behalf of Fr. Winnibald Menezes, to have him transferred to Bombay from Mangalore.  The General of the Society of Jesus, Pedro Arrupe, wrote a personal letter to Dr. Rebello thanking him for his dedicated service to the fathers of the Province and his devoted work in the Sodality Clinic.  Dr. A.C. Rebello and his family had the privilege of sitting at table to tea with Pedro Arrupe S.J. at Vinayalaya, Andheri. Dr Rebello would say “God has given me the talent and I am giving it back to God”.

Dr. A.C. Rebello was President of the KCA from 1940-44. He began by appointing various Committees to examine and handle some of the immediate problems that confronted the community. An Employment Bureau in which unemployed youth were to register their CV and members were encouraged to inform the bureau of vacancies in firms, mills, factories etc. An Improvements Committee to collect subscriptions for the Association and report suggestions of the people they contacted. An Editorial and Literary Sub-Committee was appointed to look after the publication of the “Mangalorean Review”. The Committee made history in 1941 by providing every member of the KCA a free copy. An Entertainment Committee to organise the annual socials and functions. Dr. Rebello also appealed to members with leisure time to help the St. Anthony’s League which was set up for the poor of the community, to visit them and see to their corporal as well as spiritual needs. An Office and Club House was opened at 14 Noble Chambers, Fort, which was a great necessity at the time. He made an appeal to the youth to avail of the facilities of the Sports club, also encouraging the ladies to form their own hockey team. Dr. Rebello managed to bring about unity amongst the members during his tenure, and the General Meetings were more representative of the community than in the past. 

Dr. A.C. Rebello enjoyed playing bridge, singing Konkani songs, listening to records of Josephine Baker, Maurice Chevalier, Tino Rossi and Edith Piaf. Inspite of his work and numerous commitments, he would find time to travel to Kallianpur to visit his parents whom he revered. He would always attend family functions of relatives and friends. He never turned away anyone who came to him for assistance. Born in a large family, Alfred was the third sibling among his brothers and sisters, who distinguished themselves in their careers. Albin Rebello, IA&AS, OBE, FRES, FRSS; Alphonse, Chief Appraiser of Customs Bombay; Albert, Deputy Director Agricultural Dept, Central Provinces and Berar; Alex, Agent of the Imperial Bank; Fr. Avelino, Principal of St. John the Baptist High School, Thana, author, and famed for exorcism; Anthony, District Officer Forest Dept, Baroda; Fr. Aloysius S.J., educationist in the Missions and Principal of St. Xavier Boys Academy. Dr. Rebello’s 5 sisters were all teachers, Annie Rego, Agnes Gonsalves, Adelaide Rebello, Alice Mathias and Sr Marie Alex ICM, (Angela) Principal of various schools in South India.

Dr A.C. Rebello passed away on the 13th of June, 1974

“We owe a duty towards our Community and we can fulfil this duty best by joining the KCA and taking an interest in the activities. We shall be helping a Catholic cause, and we, as Indians professing the Catholic faith should by the way in which we act and live, be an example to our fellowmen.” A. C. Rebello (The Mangalorean Review) 

Francis Louis Cosmas Silva

posted Oct 24, 2017, 12:50 AM by IT Administrator   [ updated May 9, 2018, 12:49 AM ]

By Anne-Marie Rego

Francis Silva was born in Mangalore, on the 27th of September, 1875, the son of Laurence Silva and Isabella Baptist. He came to Bombay while still young and matriculated from St. Xavier’s in 1894. For the next 30 years, he worked in the office of the Accountant General, retiring as Superintendent.

He was a man of great vision and foresight and believed wholeheartedly in service to the community and to the Christians in particular. He saw the need for the Christian community in Bombay to unite itself in order to have an active role in the local politics of the day and also to help the apprehensive new arrivals from other parts of India who needed a foothold and a hand up in the big, bustling, businesslike city so unlike their quiet little towns.

By 1901, there were sufficient Mangaloreans in Bombay to form an Association of their own, and so he, along with some of the other stalwarts, founded the Kanara Catholic Association on 17th February, 1901. F.L. Silva was the first Honorary Secretary of the KCA and was the Vice-President twice, in 1902 and 1908. 

He then held the post of President of the KCA in 1910, 1911, 1912,1913, 1921 and 1923.

The KCA Golden Jubilee Souvenir states “The indomitable zeal with which he worked for the Association from the time of its inception up to the date of his departure to Bangalore earned for him the honour of being elected President on five other occasions.”

While he continued to extend his support to the KCA, he also saw the growing need for housing among the Catholics due to the large number of young people arriving in Bombay for better prospects. Along with Frank Oliveira (an East Indian) and Dr. A.G. Viegas (a Goan), he formed the Bombay Catholic Co-operative Housing Society (Willingdon Colony) in Santa Cruz in 1919.

As Teresa Albuquerque states in her book “Santa Cruz that was”, “Who was F.L. Silva? He has been called “the prime mover of this Society”. Assistant-Examiner of Accounts, Indian Finance Department, F.L. Silva, J.P., was a great social worker who actively sponsored several Catholic organisations here in Bombay and later in the South.  Under his guidance, the Christian Association became a live body. He was subsequently nominated a member of the Mysore Legislative Council, became the Director of Mysore Spun Silk Limited and represented the Silk Trade in the Indo-Japanese Trade Talks as a non-official advisor to the Government of India.”

He took a furlough from his job to personally supervise the setting up of not only the Willingdon Colony but also assisted in the formation of the Mangalorean Garden Homes in Bandra.

His grandchildren remember him as a very soft-spoken man who concealed a vast reservoir of knowledge and experience. He was a pioneer in the silk industry. His grand-daughter Colleen states: “Grandpa 's love for learning led him to study the making of silk and the rearing of silk worms. I remember vividly the smell of the boiling silk cocoons.” He taught the Kollegal village women to grow mulberry trees on which these worms thrived.

He set up Bangalore Silk Filatures in 1922, the first electrically operated silk factory in India. In 1938 he set up Kollegal Silk Filatures which was later taken over by the Government of India when World War II started in order to make silk parachutes. In 1912, he purchased a large property adjoining the Jeppu Seminary in Mangalore and the road leading to this was named F. L. Silva Road after him and is still there today.

He married Letitia Vas in St. Peter’s Church, Bandra on the 13th of February 1904. They had eight children; Eulalia, Lawrence, Irene, Constance, Richard, Winston, Clarence and Charles. He would have been very proud of his daughter Irene Rego who carried forward his strong belief in community service and was very actively involved in the KCA and its St. Anthony’s League. His son-in-law Louis Rego was the KCA Honorary Secretary from 1926-29 and contributed Rs. 10,000/- towards the construction of Yuvakalaya. Furthermore, his grandson Edgar Sylva was the longest serving KCA President from 1990-2007. Now, the torch has been passed on to F.L. Silva’s great-grandson Sunil Alva.

His eldest grandson Gerard Rego remembers his grandfather as “a very religious man and a strict disciplinarian. He ensured that we went for daily mass even while we were on holiday. No meal could start without the ‘Grace before meals’, no matter how famished we were. I was always in awe of him as he was a multi- faceted personality – a great orator, planner and thinker. His home was open to everyone and he was known for his big and generous heart.

Mummy (Irene Rego) always talked about his community spirit - when they settled in Bangalore, their house always hosted any Mangalorean who was visiting - guests came first, family took second place. - as they were one of the pioneer Mangalorean families in Bangalore families in Bangalore.”

His grand-daughter Colleen Shenoi remembers him as “a man far ahead of his times, a visionary, a stalwart, a righteous and extraordinary man. He along with his peers are our guiding lights, for future generations to emulate and admire.”

Another grand-daughter Selma Deans says “He was an inspirational role model for us -- a soft spoken, unassuming and self-effacing man with determination who looked into the future and selflessly gave for the betterment of others.”

Francis Silva passed away on the 8th of February 1949 aged 73, in Bangalore and was interred in the Hosur Road Cemetery. 

F.A.C. 'Cyril' Rebello Esq., B.A., J.P., KIH

posted Jul 9, 2017, 7:34 AM by IT Administrator   [ updated May 5, 2018, 2:39 AM ]

The Father of Co-Operative Movements

A Catholic Visionary like no other in India

By Robin Saldanha

On the 6th of March, 1863, a son was born to the Thonse Rebellos of Kallianpur, Joanna (nee Monteiro) and Mattheus Rebello.  He was christened Francis Anthony Cyril Rebello.  He had his early education at the Government College at Mangalore, the only institution at the time.  (St. Aloysius College commenced in 1880).  He graduated from the University of Madras in 1883, BA with Honours, a gold medallist in Economics.  Excelling in mathematics, he was recruited by the Office of the Accountant General, Madras Presidency.  He worked there for a period of three years. 

Knowing there were better prospects in Bombay, he joined the same Office in the Bombay Presidency in 1886.  By sheer diligence, being a man of principle and character, he was promoted in quick succession, and rose to the post of Accountant General of Bombay. Mr. Rebello was also a Justice of Peace and an Honorary Magistrate.  While in Office, he helped numerous Catholics with jobs.  In fact, he recruited Mr. J. S. Pereira and Mr. Francis de Ga, both from Bandra, to the Accountants General Office.

It was during this period that he also took on the arduous task of educating with strict discipline his younger brother Peter’s 13 children! (Peter was the hereditary Patel and Honorary Magistrate of Kallianpur, and had to manage the vast Rebello properties there.  

At the age of 5 years, he sent his children to Bombay.  All the ‘A’s excelled in their respective careers, 3 joining religious orders.  Dr. A.C. Rebello, KCSG, MLC was a past President of the KCA.  Mr. Cyril Rebello retired from the Accountants General Office in 1921. 

No other Catholic in India has laboured so tirelessly to improve the religious, socio, and economic status of the community, and most importantly with NO vested interests.  Mr. F.A.C. Rebello was a man simple in appearance with austere habits.  In fact, he ate and slept very little, always on the move.  His motto was “Laborare est Orare” (work is worship).  His visionary mind was constantly active, brimming with ideas to organise help, protect and educate the Catholics. 

He was truly a missionary who practised his religion, an unassuming man who never spoke of his achievements, and was embarrassed when others praised his work.  Hence, there are no photographs of him with Governors, church hierarchy, or at civic receptions even though he was Chairman of the municipality of Bandra.  He founded numerous Co-operative Societies which have flourished under his initiative, labour, organisational skills and expert advice; housing, credit, education, religious and agricultural societies in Bombay, Honawar, Dharwar, Belgaum, Poona, Nasik, Bassein, and Karachi.

Mr. Rebello was a regular if not the largest client, at the Chief Engineer’s Office in the Development Department.  A firm believer that indigenous Catholics of the land should possess their own property and not be ousted by others, and also to safeguard their rights as well as to encourage other Catholics to buy property at concessional rates, led to him setting up the following Co-operative Societies: 
  • The Salsette Catholic Co-operative Housing Society Ltd in 1918 in Bandra. 
  • The St. Sebastian’s Home Co-operative Society Ltd in 1918 in Bandra. 
  • The Vile Parle Catholic Co-operative Housing Society Ltd (in liquidation). 
  • The Mangalorean Garden Homes Co-operative Society Ltd in 1916 in Bandra. 
  • The Nasik Catholic Sanatoria Co-operative Society Ltd in 1919. 
  • The Bombay Catholic Co-operative Housing Society Ltd in 1922 in Santa Cruz. 
  • The St. Anthony’s Homes Co-operative Society Ltd in 1925 in Chembur. 
  • The Dharwar Catholic Colony Co-operative Society Ltd. 
Acres of land were bought at Andheri and Vile Parle, but due to various reasons (some by the Government who wanted the land for the railways) the plan was abandoned, some of the land was sold, some still remains.  The MGHCS bought 3 plots on St. Leo’s Road, now history as the plots were sold by the current committee.  To revive the society, Dr. A C Rebello gave his land, (now Rebello House) though he was getting numerous offers from non-Catholics.  20 lakhs! from a Sindhi in 1960. 

The western side of Bombay had the majority of Catholic housing, so Mr. Rebello thought of having a colony for Catholics on the eastern side i.e. Chembur, and St. Anthony’s Society came about; a well-planned layout with a Church, a boys’ school, a girls’ convent, and a large playground.  Mr. Rebello was Chairman of St. Anthony's Homes from 1927-33, and President in 1934. The Bombay Catholic Co-operative Housing Society Ltd, Santa Cruz (the Willingdon Colony) is also part of history now - sadly, after much time and toil to provide affordable housing for the community in a verdant surrounding, it was sold to a non-Catholic builder recently. 

The Nasik Catholic Sanatoria Co-Operative Society Ltd had 6 furnished cottages built as a memorial to Baptista, Domingo, Rebello, Simcox, Bethlehem, and Dr. Viegas (Scheme A).  The cottages were for member families, and non-members, to enable them to have a holiday or recuperate, in a healthier climate than Bombay for nominal rates of Rs. 30 – 40 per month.  Alas, this too has been sold due to the greed of men.

He also bought 16 acres, 8 guntas of land on behalf of the society in 1924 for Rs. 2,350/- in Deolali village (Scheme B).  It was divided into 32 smaller plots and sold at affordable rates to Catholics to build their own homes.  Numerous families benefitted from this scheme.  As the Government of India Printing Press was established close by, and also the church and school, rates appreciated in the area.  Mr. Rebello had grand ideas for Nasik; he wanted to build a Catholic township with schools, a Church, hospital, parks, etc., but sadly, his untimely demise prevented this.  He acquired more land in October 1934, most of which was bought by the Bishop of Poona.  A portrait of Mr. Cyril Rebello, was hung in Rebello Cottage, Nasik, after his demise.

Mr. Rebello was the first person in India to adopt the co-operative rules to education.  He founded The Bombay East Indian Co-operative Educational Society Ltd in 1919, and The Mangalorean Catholic Co-operative Educational Society Ltd.  Both societies were to help families of moderate means to educate their children.

He founded the Salsette Catholic Co-operative Agricultural Association Ltd.  Large tracts of land were bought at Kondivita and Sahar to help rural communities start co-operative farming.  Subsequently, the Government took over some of the lands for the Santa Cruz airport.   He was to start one such Agricultural Co-Operative in Mangalore too, and all the bye-laws had been printed, the Registrar too, was aware of this plan but due to his sudden death, it was aborted. 

He founded the following Credit Societies to help low income groups obtain loans at a lower rate of interest and rescue them from the clutches of money lenders.
  1. The Mangalorean Catholic Co-operative Credit Society Ltd in 1916, the first Catholic Co-operative Credit Society in India, which due to the selfless service of Mr. Rebello grew rapidly.  At the Silver Jubilee celebrations in 1941 at the K. R. Cama Institute, an oil portrait of the late Mr. Cyril Rebello was unveiled. Mr. V. L. Mehta predicted it would be a bank soon.  It is now Model Co-operative Bank Ltd. 
  2. The Bombay Catholic Urban Co-operative Credit Society Ltd in 1920, now, Citizen Credit Co-operative Bank Ltd. 
  3. The Salsette Catholic Co-operative Credit Society Ltd in 1920, of which he was President. 
  4. The Karachi Catholic Co-operative Credit Society Ltd (in liquidation). 
  5. The Karwar Catholic Co-operative Credit Society Ltd. 
  6. The Poona Catholic Co-operative Credit Society Ltd (in liquidation). 
  7. The Bassein Catholic Co-operative Credit Society Ltd in 1918, now, The Bassein Catholic Co-operative Bank Ltd. 
Mr. Rebello organised the first historic All India Catholic Conference in 1919 at Madras, and in 1920 at St. Xavier’s College, Bombay, with Dr. Maj. C. Fernandez, MD presiding, as he represented the Catholic community in the Bombay Legislative Council.  The Conferences attracted delegates from all the states and was a grand success.  In 1922, he organised another All India Conference at Old Goa.  The result was the All India Catholic Union.

In 1921, Mr. Rebello instituted the Bombay Catholic Welfare Organisation, of which he was Chairman and his good friend the Rt. Rev. Mgr. L. C. Pera, Vicar General of the Diocese of Damaun, was the President.  He planned the working of this Organisation, and established several administrative committees within the structure.  The B.C.W.O was a formidable organisation for the year it was founded, as the following committees were the precursors of what we have in the Diocese today.
  • An educational committee to administer the working of the numerous schools in the Diocese.  The committee also organised several inter-school sports meets in hockey, football, cricket, and athletics; inter-school competitions in arts, music, singing and elocution, and even started a motor training school for the migrants coming to the city in need of jobs.
  • A Catholic Young Men’s Association; the Association looked after needs of the middle class and had 2 hostels for the youth of the city.
  • A Women’s Guild for the welfare of young girls and unemployed women.  The Guild imparted training in sewing, cooking, typing, etc., and had a women’s hostel.
  • An Entertainment Committee to raise funds through fetes, socials, musical evenings, plays, etc., which brought in a lot of money during the years of its existence.
  • A Missionary Society to collect money to help the Missions in India.
  • An Employment Bureau to help the youth with appropriate jobs.
Mr. Rebello was also instrumental in introducing several religious orders to the city as Chairman of the B.C.W.O. 
  • In 1922, he suggested to Mgr. L. C. Pera to invite the Congregation of the Carmelite Religious, CCR to Bombay and housed them in a cottage in Willingdon Colony, Santa Cruz.  He donated 2 acres of his land adjoining the colony to Mother M. Michael of St. Therese’s Convent. 
  • Mr. Rebello was a friend of Mgr. Louis Mathias, who was the first Father Provincial of the Salesians in Calcutta in 1926.  He requested Mgr. Pera to ask the Salesians to come to Bombay, and take over the Catholic Education Institute at Tardeo, which was under the Educational Committee.  The Salesians came to Bombay in 1927.  Mr. Rebello identified a site at Matunga, and the Salesians shifted there in 1928. 
  • He again requested Mgr. Pera to invite the Capuchin Order to Bombay.  He bought 7 acres of land on behalf of St. Anthony’s Society, Chembur, which was to house the Capuchins.  Unfortunately, there were changes in the Diocese of Damaun and their jurisdiction.  The Capuchins were not able to obtain permission from the new ecclesiastical authorities, and moved to Mangalore.  The Bombay Presidency Golf Course is now on that same land. 
As his nephews and nieces were now independent, he donated his home which was next to Mt. Mary’s Church, Bandra, in 1927 to the Franciscan Hospitallers of the Immaculate Conception, as well as the property in front.  He stayed as a paying guest at the home of Mr. P. V. Domingo on St. Leo’s Road.

Mr. Rebello was a gentleman of much landed property, a 1500-acre coffee estate in the south, large tracts of lands in the suburbs, and a handsome pension.  He could have lived a very comfortable retired life, but he devoted his life to ameliorate the status of his brethren.  He would acquire the lands, plan, organise, with an indefatigable energy, and then move on to his next project.  Once the societies were founded by him there would be a crazy scramble for positions of President, Chairman, Secretary, etc., amongst the members.  In fact, if some of the societies went into liquidation, it was mainly due to the lack of co-operation and initiative amongst its members, as without his direction they were often lost, and he would often be called back for his expert advice. 

The British Crown honoured him with the silver Kaisar-I-Hind in 1933, and he was presented with the medal by the Viceroy of India, the Earl of Willingdon.  Other notable recipients of this award were Mahatma Gandhi, and the Gaikwad of Baroda.  Mr. F.A.C Rebello has left behind a formidable legacy for the Catholics and the Church, which is so inspiring and countless people are reaping the fruits of his selfless sacrifice.  It is no wonder he is known as the “Father of the Co-Operative Movement for Catholics in Western India.” 

Mr. Cyril Rebello died on the 20th November 1934, and was buried at St. Andrew's Church, Bandra.  "Mr. F.A.C Rebello was an outstanding figure among the Roman Catholics of India and a great social worker" The Times of India, 21st November 1934.  Mr. Rebello lived his life, with true Christian values instilled in him by his devout parents.  "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward.  You are serving the Lord Christ” Colossians 3:23-24 

(Shockingly, Mr. Rebello's permanent grave which was outside the Bosco Hall, was sold by the Church, to the Netto family, without informing the Rebellos; the marble tomb stone which was engraved with his achievements has also disappeared.  His portrait, which used to be at the Bandra Gymkhana has since been removed.)

Hon’ble Dr. Major Cajetan Fernandez MD, JP.

posted May 4, 2017, 2:13 AM by IT Administrator   [ updated May 5, 2018, 2:45 AM ]

By Dr. Kranti K. Farias

Alexander Smith has said, “the great man is the man who does a thing for the first time”.  This is who a 'pioneer' is.  In this issue, we will see the vision and foresight of the founder of our Association, who was not what we call a Mangalorean, for he was Goan, hailing from Honawar, North Kanara, but was the founder of the Kanara Catholic Association, Bombay!  This was the Hon'ble Dr. Major Cajetan Fernandez I.M.S. who became the first President of the Association (1901-05).

The Major was born on November 7, 1867 in Goa.  His father Dr. Bartholomeo Fernandez was the most renowned Ayurvedic Physician of his time, living in Honawar, North Kanara, and whose illustrated treatise in Kanarese is still in use.  The Major had his higher education in St. Xavier's College, Bombay; passed his L.M.& S. from Grant Medical College, Bombay, and proceeded to Europe for higher studies.  He secured his M.D. in 1893 from Brussels with the highest honours.  There he had the privilege of meeting and dining with H. H. Edward VII who was pleased to note that the young man had topped the list of MD's.

His services to society 

He returned to India and was appointed Head of the Skin Department of J. J. Hospital, and Professor of Dermatology at Grant Medical College.  These posts he held for three and a half decades.  He was without a peer in the world of dermatology.  He was also Consultant Physician to Bombay Governors, eminent citizens which included Maharajahs, Mahatma Gandhi , Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, and Pandit Madan Malaviya.  Psychiatry was another of his acquisitions.  Dr. Fernandez secured a commission in the Indian Medical Service during the First World War, and was placed in charge of the Marine Lines War Hospital with the rank of Major.  During the plague, he devoted himself selflessly to medical relief.

He also took a prominent part in the public life of the city and was a member of the Municipal Corporation of Bombay from 1919-1925.  He was the first Catholic member of the Bombay Legislative Council.  He was a Justice of Peace, and an Honorary Presidency Magistrate.  He was elected to the Senate of the University of Bombay, the Bombay Medical Council, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Bombay.  He was a Founder and Trustee of the Catholic Gymkhana and Founder-President of the Kanara Catholic Association.  The Dr. C. Fernandez Co-operative Credit Society in Honawar was started in 1930, after his munificent deposit of Rs. 3,000 free of interest.  His life was dedicated to the service of humanity irrespective of caste and creed.

His work for the Kanara Catholic Association

The Major was soon to realize that the North and South Kanarites who were the later immigrants into Bombay, the Goans being the first among the Catholics to do so, should have support in Bombay especially as these were now pouring in from areas south of Goa.  A need was felt to knit the community together.  This community comprised of those who had migrated to Bombay for jobs and professions like their counterpart the Goans.  Many took up jobs as domestic servants, cooks, waiters, taxi drivers etc.  They became members of one of the “clubs” at a nominal fee of Rupees Two per month and ate in the community kitchen.  They picked up new skills and educated themselves in the 'night schools' and soon began to own taxis, laundries, restaurants, garages, and pan beedi shops.  Others who were better educated went on to taking up other superior trades and professions.  They lived mainly in the Byculla area.   Soon money was being remitted to Kanara and a “money order economy” was developing in North and South Kanara.

As the numbers grew and family life seen with marriages taking place, there was a need to bring the Mangaloreans together.  There were about 400 Mangalorean Catholics then in Bombay.  With this need envisioned by him, he founded an association to bring together people from the two Kanaras, who had settled in Bombay, and so the Kanara Catholic Association (K.C.A.) was founded on February 17, 1901 with 50 Members on its rolls.  The Hon'ble Dr. Major Cajetan Fernandez I.M.S. was its first President, while F.L. Silva was its first Secretary.  The aims and objectives of the Association was to foster a spirit of unity, friendship and self-help among the members to provide facilities for their periodical meetings for social and other purposes; the organisation of relief and assistance for the uplift of the community.  In short, it was a socio-economic organisation, with “Vis Unita Fortior” as its motto.  Membership to the Association was made selective, it being open only to the people from the better educated class and the upper strata of the community.

The Hon'ble Dr. Major Cajetan Fernandez's services were found so invaluable that he was elected President for two successive years after his first term, and then again from 1916 to 1919, and yet again in 1926, thus giving him the Presidential Chair for eight years.  He launched the Association, guided it well for some years and truly anchored the “ship” with his self-giving.

The Majors' wife Leocadia Annalia da Rocha was of the aristocratic family of Quitula, Aldona, Goa.  They had four daughters and seven sons.  Truly a good Catholic couple.  His son-in-law Dr. A.C. Rebello, a Mangalorean who was also to become well known was the first Dermatologist of the K.E.M. Hospital, from its inception in 1926. 

The Major passed away on July 30, 1943.  Today, we have his grandson Dr. Rui Fernandez following in the family tradition as Chief Dermatologist at K.E.M.Hospital and the Holy Family Hospital.  The illustrious career of Hon'ble Dr. Major Cajetan Fernandez can be summed up in the words of Sir Narayan Chandavarkar, the first Speaker of the Bombay Legislative Council, “The Major is the doyen of Indian Medicine, the Prince of Physicians and a great leader of men”.


1. Personal interviews with Mrs. Helen Saldanha, Robin Saldanha, Drs. Rui & Armida Fernandez - direct family of the Hon'ble Dr. Major Cajetan Fernandez.
2. Robin Saldanha, “Remembering The Fernandez's”, The Examiner (Bombay), Vol.147, No.48. November 30, 1996. pp. 16,17.
3. The Mangalorean-Golden Jubilee Souvenir 1933-1983. (Published by S.M. D'Souza, Bombay).
4. KCA Diamond Jubilee Souvenir, 1901-1976, Bombay,1976.
5. Minutes of the KCA General Body & Managing Council Meetings.

Gerald J (Gerry) Saldanha

posted May 4, 2017, 12:34 AM by IT Administrator   [ updated May 8, 2018, 11:49 PM ]

By Joseph Saldanha

"When I am in Bombay, I stare at the bottles, here in Goa, the bottles stare at me, says Presidency Magistrate from Bombay", he told a newspaper reporter when visiting Goa in the prohibition era, which promptly appeared in the newspapers in Bombay.  It was, but an example of Gerry's wit, and his outspokenness.

G J "Gerry" Saldanha (1907-1984) was the President of the KCA in 1950-1951, Vice-President in 1963-1966, and President in 1966-1969.

The son of Jerome Saldanha, a well-known judge, patriot, follower of Mahatma Gandhi, and MLC from Mangalore, Gerry studied at St. Aloysius College, and then at the Bombay Law College.  He practiced criminal law in Bombay and Poona.  He was a dynamic speaker, and as a young lawyer, appeared before the Privy Council in London in 1942.  

In 1951, he was appointed Presidency Magistrate, and endeared himself with his humane approach to litigants and accused, with his fluent Pune Marathi, and his ever present wit lightened the courtroom atmosphere, and he was popular with the bar and the bench.

At the KCA, he was, together with many supporters in Bombay and Mangalore, instrumental in raising money from well-known Mangalorean donors, as well as those of more modest means to take the KCA Hall and Yuvakalaya Hostel in Bandra from a dream to a reality.  With backing from the community, at his instance, the KCA took on debt, which was paid off over time.  He was undaunted by the magnitude of the task before him because he was not one to be deterred by challenges.  By sheer determination, dedication, and hard work, he guided the KCA in achieving its goal.  Today, the KCA Hall is a gathering place that the community can call its own, and Yuvakalaya is a place for young men, from different parts of the country, to start and advance their career.

His love for open space made him an active member of the 'Save Bombay' and 'Save Bandra' campaigns, and he succeeded in getting the intervention of Indira Gandhi in stopping an International Banking Institute from coming up on the waterfront of Carter Road in Bandra.

He was an ardent supporter of the Agnel Ashram and Technical Institute in Bandra, serving on its Board of Governors.  He supported the Ashram through its difficult times, securing again the support of Indira Gandhi, who memorably, once had her motorcade diverted from its originally planned route, in order to visit the Ashram.

He helped a number of co-operative societies in Bombay, Mahabaleshwar, and Nasik.  The Belmont Society in Mahabaleshwar, later named a road after him in their Society.

But most of all, he is remembered for his willingness to help people from all classes, religions, and communities who came to his house daily for help and guidance on legal, personal, and family matters, free of cost.  His simplicity, sincerity, dignity, and willingness to speak up for the downtrodden is what is most remembered of Gerald J Saldanha.

His children, Joseph Saldanha and Elizabeth Tilak, now in Canada and the United States, thank Eric D'Sa and the KCA for remembering Gerald J Saldanha.                      

Dr. Stanislaus (Stanny) Patrao

posted May 4, 2017, 12:33 AM by IT Administrator   [ updated May 8, 2018, 11:39 PM ]

By Dr. Kranti K. Farias

Dr. Stanislaus Patrao was born on March 25, 1899, in Kallianpur, South Kanara.  His early education was at St. Aloysius College, Mangalore.  He completed his Intermediate Science, where he stood first, from St. Xavier's College, Bombay.  He was the only student to hold a triple graduate qualification in Medicine and Surgery from Grant Medical College, Bombay.  He was the first student to get the degree in the Department of Anatomy and Embryology, a First Class with Distinction, and here he started the Branch of Comparative Anatomy and its Museum, winning several prestigious prizes.  

Dr. Patrao was a benefactor to the community in Bombay and in Kanara; to the Kanara Catholic Association, Bombay; and to his beloved Alma Mater, St. Aloysius College, Mangalore.  Dr. Patrao's donation towards the entire panelling of the walls in the KCA Hall is to be appreciated.

Dr. Patrao was unanimously elected the President of the Association at the 62nd AGM, held on April 13, 1975, as proposed by Dr. Fabian Fernandes for KCA's Diamond Jubilee Year. Dr. Patrao gave an enthusiastic start to the KCA Diamond Jubilee Scholarship Fund to enable deserving students to pursue higher studies.

Dr. Patrao was re-elected President at the AGM, held on December 11, 1977, in anticipation of the Centenary Year Celebrations (1978-1980) of St. Aloysius College, with Rev. Fr. Matthew Lewis S.J. as Rector. The entire Council of KCA was also re-elected, with Mrs. Kranti Farias as Hon. Secretary, and Mr. Louis Tauro as Hon. Treasurer.  Three programmes for fund raising were organised, the climax being the St. Aloysius College Centenary Ball on January 26, 1980.

His dear wife, Aileen, who stood by him through thick and thin was a great support.  She, herself, had served several terms in the Managing Council of KCA.  Dr. Patrao was a good family man, strict yet benevolent with their seven children, all well placed in life.  He loved outdoor games, and loved golf in particular, and was the oldest and most active golfer in the city, having won many a trophies.

Dr. Patrao was President of Dr. A L Nair Trust.  The Dean of B Y L Nair Hospital, Dr. M S Kekre called Dr. Patrao 'the architect of the modern Nair Hospital'.  He formed a Trust for people affected with Hansen's Disease (leprosy), and was its President.  The poor and the needy got treated at the Jane Patrao Charitable Hospital, which he started in memory of his mother at Moreland Road, Byculla.

Dr. Patrao could not tolerate indiscipline and inefficiency.  Dr. Vaze, his former student, said he would snap at a mistake made, but would soon forget it.  The great doctor believed to make a mistake is understandable, but to repeat it was not forgivable. 

On March 26, 1979, on the occasion of his 80th birthday, at a public function organised by the Bombay Chapter of Association of Surgeons of India, presided by the Committee President Mr. S K Patil, the Chief Guest Mr. Sadik Ali, Governor of Bombay, presented to Dr. Patrao an address in a silver casket, and a cheque of Rs. 50,000.  Here, a well wisher also donated Rs. 5,000.  Dr. Patrao said he would use the money to aid leprosy and other patients.

At the celebration for his friends, Mr. Charles Mascarenhas, freedom fighter and comrade of M N Roy and a cousin of Dr. Patrao, compared him to Susrutha, the greatest surgeon of ancient India, in 6th Century B.C.

The General Body of the KCA at its 65th AGM, held on February 27, 1983, unanimously passed a resolution to unveil the photo of Dr. Patrao at the function of January 29, 1984, during the tenure of the Presidency of Mr. Wilfred Tellis.

Dr. Patrao's passing away on November 12, 1988, was deeply mourned.

We would do well to remember "God does not ask about our ability or our inability, but our availability". (The Arkansas Baptist).  

This is the hallmark of the life of Dr. Patrao - his availability to people around and about him!

Mark Vaz and Terry Vaz

posted May 4, 2017, 12:32 AM by IT Administrator   [ updated May 8, 2018, 11:50 PM ]

By Dr. Kranti K. Farias

On February 19, 1901, at a large gathering of the community, it was decided to form the Kanara Catholic Association. With 50 Members on its rolls, Hon. Major Cajetan Fernandes, a North Kanarite was Founder President (1901 - 1905) and Mr. Francis L Silva, the first Secretary. There were about 400 Mangalorean Catholics at that time.

Many were there who made an impressive contribution to the growth of the Kanara Catholic Association down the years. In 1961, in commemoration of the Diamond Jubilee Year of the Association, the Managing Council with full faith in the support of Members embarked on an ambitious project, the mammoth task of building a hall and hostel, having limited funds, but great hope. It was to be a lasting monument in memory of those who had placed the community on the map of Bombay. It would answer the dire need felt in this great metropolis for reasonably priced accommodation for young men coming into a new city from North and South Kanara, be 'a home away from home' and meet the need to have a hall for the activities of the growing community.

The Diamond Jubilee Year Fund was started in 1961 and focused on working towards building the hostel and hall. The next five years went with efforts made through appeals for donations and loans from Bombay, Mangalore, and overseas; sale of raffle tickets, dances and plays to raise funds. The man at the helm at this time as President was Mr. Mark Vaz. He had the most supportive team (Managing Council). Mark Vaz was elected unanimously to the Office of President for five terms, beginning with the 46th AGM held at the Nagpada House on March 27, 1955 till May 28, 1961, when he expressed that it was the turn of others to get the post. This shows the sterling qualities of a team builder and leader.

Charles M Sequeira at the 49th AGM, held on May 25, 1958, said of him, "Mark Vaz had splendidly guided the construction ideas leading to an improvement in the funds and a spirit of friendliness. He had also revived a number of activities which had gone down". Minutes of the Council Meetings reveal this truth. In spite of his preoccupation with his business, Mr. Mark Vaz always found time to work for the Association. Mr. Vaz resigned from the Council on March 21, 1965.

At the 53rd AGM held at Noble Chambers on October 11, 1962, Mr. Lambert D'Souza, Hon. Secretary moved a Resolution, seconded by Mr. Bertram Shenoi, "that in recognition of the meritorious services rendered to the Association by Mr. Mark Vaz as the President for five years, the portrait of Mark Vaz be unveiled at the next Annual Social and Dance." The Resolution was carried unanimously and with acclamation.

Personal Sketch of Mr. Mark Vaz:

With great qualities of heart and mind as a Christian, Mark Vaz as he humbly admitted rose from a Clerk in a clearing agency to be the Managing Director of his own clearing agency, VAZ FORWARDING PRIVATE LIMITED. He was a great benefactor of the Mangalorean Community in Bombay and Kanara; St. Aloysius' College, Mangalore; and the Church in India, and was bountiful to small time businessmen, too. All Christian work is complimentary, and as husband and wife, Mark Vaz and Terry Vaz, played well this role with grace and humility, and worked in collaboration.                                             

Mrs. Aileen Patrao proposed the name of Mrs. Terry Vaz as President, and this was seconded by Mr. L F Sequeira.  Mrs. Terry Vaz was unanimously elected President of the Association, the first lady to be elected to that coveted position, was was re-elected successively til 1968.

The Special Committee to look after the construction of the KCA Hall & Hostel was also formed at this AGM. Meetings and travels to get the funds needed went on. As the completion of the construction was nearing, the Council decided to hold a competition for a name for the hostel. Ms. Leela Rego won the prize for her submission, the name "Yuvakalaya" (Abode for the Youth).

The KCA Hall & Hostel was inaugurated on June 28, 1969, by His Excellency, Mr. P V Cherian, Governor of Maharashtra, and blessed by His Eminence, Dr. Valerian, Cardinal Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay. 

The first hostel to be built by a Christian Association, besides the Sodality House, Y.M.C.A. and Y.W.C.A. hostels in Bombay, the KCA Hostel was open to young men, regardless of caste and creed. Though meant for young men coming from Kanara, those from other Christian communities were also admitted. The building was also equipped with a Community Hall for the activities of the Association.

Mr. G J Saldanha eulogised the services of both Mr. Mark Vaz and Mrs. Terry Vaz at the 57th AGM of January 9, 1971, the first meeting held at Yuvakalaya, when he was President, and Mrs. Terry Vaz was Vice-President, saying, "he gratefully acknowledged the co-operation of all Members, and in particular, Mr. and Mrs. Mark Vaz, who rendered invaluable service throughout the period of construction of the hostel." The General Body at the AGM unanimously resolved to unveil the portrait of Mrs. Terry Vaz in the KCA Hall as a tribute to her.

The unveiling of the portrait of Mrs. Terry Vaz by Mr. Kantikumar Podar, Sheriff of Bombay and prominent industrialist, was held at a function on March 2, 1974. Dr. Fabian Fernandes, President of KCA welcomed the Chief Guest and referred to his status and involvement in the city's life. He then briefly recounted the history and background of South Kanarites. He stressed that 'out of the portals of the colleges and convents of Kanara have come out men and women who have distinguished themselves in various walks of life'.

Speaking next, Mr. G J Saldanha, Retired Presidency Magistrate said, "the history of the Kanara Catholic Association, which has survived 73 years was the history of vicissitudes. It had its storms and stresses, and on occasions, eminent men came to its rescue when things were at a low ebb". He eulogised the services rendered to the Kanara Catholic Association and to the community by both Mr. Mark Vaz and Mrs. Terry Vaz. He said Mr. Mark Vaz, as President of the Kanara Catholic Association during 1955-1960 had revived the sagging interest of the Members and placed the Association on a sound financial footing. Those years were the most difficult years in the history of the Association and work on the construction of the hostel had been slow. The community had embarked upon a project of great magnitude, and it required courage and determination of high order to see this project through.

Continuing, he said, "The object of the Resolution had been two-fold: one, to express our deep appreciation of the invaluable services rendered by Mrs. Terry Vaz to the Association and the community, and second, that her portrait which would adorn the hall be a source of inspiration to other young ladies who come here, and that they may be imbued with the sense of service to humanity." Mr. Saldanha then requested Mr. Kantikumar Podar to unveil the portrait of Mrs. Terry Vaz, which was done amidst great acclamation.

Mr. Podar in his scholarly address congratulated the Kanara Catholic Association for its many sided activities. He said that he was greatly impressed by the efforts of the Members of the community in seeking the betterment of the people of Bombay, and to learn firsthand of how for over seven decades, they had merged themselves into the mainstream of Bombay's life without losing a sense of their identity. He complimented Mrs. Terry Vaz on her achievement, and the active part played by her in the welfare of the community, and hoped as Mr. Saldanha had said, her portrait would be a source of inspiration to ladies of the community as well as to others.

The contribution of Mr. Mark Vaz and Mrs. Terry Vaz to KCA is recorded not only in the Minutes Books' of the Association, and on the tablet of List of Patrons, Founder Members, and Donors, with their munificent donation of Rs. 25,000, but also in the hearts of all those who knew them. 

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