Anthroponyms seta FERNANDES, Bento (1579-1633)

Clergy of the Society of Jesus who worked mostly in Japan. Born in Borba in 1579, he died in Japan on 2 October, 1663. He was the son of Miguel Fernandes and Isabel Afonso. He entered the Jesuit novitiate in Evora in either March or April 1596. Mateus Couros was his companion in the novitiate, and they met again in Japan years later. He continued his studies of philosophy and the humanities, departing for India on 25 March, 1602. He started out in Goa, studying theology, then went to Macao, where he was approved to read philosophy and theology. Most likely, he was ordained a priest, either before leaving Goa or right after arriving in Macao. He arrived in Japan in 1605 and went to Arima, where he studied Japanese. In October 1607, he was in the Miyako Area. There, on 10 December, 1611, he witnessed the donation by João Baptista Porro of all his worldly possessions to the Jesuit Province of Japan. At the end of 1613, he went to Nagasaki where, on 1 January, 1614, he professed the four vows. He was still in Japan November 1614. He was taken to Osaka secretly, and was there at the time of Toyotomi Hideyori´s death. After that, he worked in Iga: in Kyoto in 1617 and in Tokyo (Edo) in 1619; then, he was sent to Nagasaki. He was already there on 7 March, 1623, for he was one of the clergy who signed the manifesto against the slander of the friars. From that time on, he remained in the Nagasaki Region, serving also as consultor to Francisco Pacheco. He was captured on 30 July, 1633 in Nagato and taken to Nagasaki where he was martyred on October 2nd. He took the Japanese names, Sukenojo and Seiyemon, in secrecy. In 1622, he authored a treatise on the martyrs.

Bibliography: COSTA, João Paulo Oliveira e, O Cristianismo no Japão e o Episcopado de D. Luís de Cerqueira, dissertação de doutoramento em História apresentada à Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas da Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisboa, 1998 (texto fotocopiado). YUUKI, Diego, S.J., Bento Fernandes, Japão (1579-1633). De Borba, Alentejo, à colina de Nishizaka em Nagasaki. Biografia e Cartas do P.e Bento Fernandes S.J., Macau, Comissão Territorial para as Comemorações dos Descobrimentos Portugueses, 1997. Monumenta Historica Japoniae, dir. de Josef Franz Schütte S. J., Roma, Institutum Historicum Societatis Iesu, 1975.

Author: Helena Rodrigues
Translated by: Maria João Pimentel

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