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JESUITICA: starting cities

anchieta_01In January 1554 Fathers Joseph de Anchieta (now Blessed) and de Nobrega established a mission and school at a small village in Brazil. They celebrated the first Mass on the feast of the conversion of St Paul, so they called the place Sao Paulo (where the monument to de Anchieta pictured here can be found), now the 7th largest city in the world – population 18,850,000. In 1567 the same pair founded a settlement in what is now Rio de Janeiro, the world’s 22nd biggest city with 10,560,000. Joseph wrote the first dramas in Brazil in Latin, Portuguese and Tupi (an Indian language), so is named Father of Brazilian literature – two Brazilian cities carry his name. He wrote a famous poem to the Virgin Mary, allegedly writing it every morning on the wet sand of a beach and committing it to memory until he could much later transcribe its more than 4,000 verses to paper.