Anthroponyms seta CABRAL, Francisco (1533-1609)

Clergy of the Society of Jesus who worked mostly in Japan. He was born in the island of São Miguel around 1533 and died in Goa on 16th April, 1609. He was the son of Aires Pires Cabral and Francisca Nunes de Proença. He was educated in Lisbon and studied Humanities in Coimbra. He sailed for India as a soldier in the armada that took D. Afonso de Noronha, the vice-Roy. He took part in military actions in 1552 but in December 1554 he was admitted to the Society of Jesus in Goa. There he carried on with the Humanities studies and was ordained priest in 1558. Between 1562 and 1566 he was the headmaster of the Bassein* College and, briefly, of the Kochi College. In 1568 he left for Macau and professed the four vows the following year. On 18th June, 1570, he disembarked in Japan and replaced Cosme de Torres as superior, a position he held until mid-1581. As the superior, Francisco Cabral visited several regions where there were Christian communities; in 1571 he visited Miyako and was received in audience by Oda Nobunaga in Gifu. In between his visits, Cabral stayed at the Usuki residence, in Bungo. During his administration the relationship with the house of Bungo was quite improved, having even baptised, on 28th August, 1578, Otomo Yoshishige, who received the Portuguese Christian name of Francisco. After having left the office of superior in Japan, Francisco Cabral kept in touch with Bungo, as superior of the entire region, a position he held until 1583. In this same year he left for Macau, where he was the superior from 1583 to 1586. Then he went to India, where he was superior of the professed house of Goa and provincial consultant between 1587 and 1592. Since this date and until 1597 he was the provincial of India, going back to being provincial consultant until he died. Representing the bishopric of Japan, he took part in Goa?s 5th council in 1606. As the superior of Japan, Cabral opposed the cultural adaptation method as well as turning natives into priests, thus diverging from the visitator Alexandre Valignano.

* Baçaim in the Portuguese original, or Bassein, nowadays Vasai-Virar, a city in the Maharashtra state, in western India

FRÓIS, Luís S.J., Historia de Japam, vols. II-III, Lisboa, Biblioteca Nacional, 1981-982. Monumenta Historica Japoniae, dir. de Josef Franz Schütte S. J., Roma, Institutum Historicum Societatis Iesu, 1975. 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).

Author: Helena Rodrigues
Translated by: Maria das Mercês Pacheco

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