Joseph Aran SJ

Joseph Aran SJ


As Narrated to The Stanislaus HealthCare Project Team

Juse Luis Aran SJ

My childhood was smooth sailing. My boyhood was a concatenation of a devil-may- care exploits that often made my mother cry, "Son you are killing me with your shocking behavior"! I really could not see what was so terrible with "bunking school", smoking on the quiet (rinsing my mouth on a fountain nearby before entering home), and playing football as long as there was daylight -after all I was convinced I'd make it to Barcelona F.C.

By the time I was 16 I gave up smoking and I was in the team of my small hometown. As for school, I avoided studying like the pest, kept on failing until my father threatened me to remove me from school. Never believed him He had been an orphan and education meant for him next to godliness.

But I failed again and one evening I came home and was told: "See on your bed, if the boiler suit fits you". I gave my parents great marks for acting...! But next morning they really imposed it, I was sent to the Factory of "Fabray Coats" (they have sister concerns in Mumbai and Madurai!). The G.M. was a personal friend of my father; He had requested him to send me to the "battans", the lowest department of the thread making section!! I was two months over the legal age to start work at that time in Spain, 14 years!! I look back to the "lesson" my Dad taught me with real gratitude in my heart!

When I became infatuated with Anna-Mari my fellow workers noticed it and......great tradition the world over! ragged me no end "Without finishing your studies you can marry her and with your present salary, live under the railway bridge!" It was Rs.7.80 a week! The year l947.

I hated the ragging but I was smart enough to realize that it was true. Stung to the quick, I asked my Dad to be allowed to go back to school. Sure, he said, you can go on working and go to the night school" My pride was my best counselor that time! I did just that! But now my Dad, quietly spoke to the M.G. and I was transferred to the Office -again to the lowest post, obviously! I never guess my Dad's manipulations, but he seemed to have realized I had become somewhat serious... I was 17.

Around that time I had been invited for a trial game on the grounds of a third (or forth) team in Barcelona. But I missed my appointment. The week after that I went to make a retreat and I felt that I was being invited to play the game of life under a very different Captain: the Lord Jesus! That was the beginning of a U Turn in my life!

It was while working in that Office that one afternoon the Barcelona News paper "La Vanguardia" arrived with Ghandiji's photo in the front page...I read quotations in the inside pages. I said to myself: "A country that can produce such giants has to be terrific: I want to go there".

The U Turn was almost complete now.

I joined the Jesuits in Veruela (Aragon) and then asked to be sent to India.
After a lot of waiting and begging, my request was granted. I left from Gibraltar, on a Polish ship, the Battori" and reached Bombay the 7th of Feb. 1953.

From that day onwards there NEVER was a point of looking back!

I am very sanguine by character, and I loved with passion many things... LIFE ITSELF! I soon realized that if education was to be really effective, it had to be EDUCATION FOR LIFE. That has been my greatest passion in my life as a teacher. In other words that the fullness of life "the training of the mind, subjects... But in the training of the heart as well, (handling of emotions, learning to love meaningfully, finding for your self what is really meaningful and satisfying)

You want to know why I won't go back to Spain?

I found ample scope in our country to share the fullness of life in the warmth and friendliness and open mindedness of our people I am VERY happy here! Jai Hind!!.


St. Stanislaus High School Email:
Hill Road, Bandra SSESA Lead - Gerry Mascarenhas – Bandra, Mumbai
Mumbai 400050 Lead Volunteer Vikram Moorjani Los Angeles, CA

Joseph Melville Pinto's picture

My dear Stanislaus

My dear Stanislaus HealthCare Project Team,

Thanks for this piece by Fr Aran. Besides being my principal at St Mary's (SSC) Mazagaon; playing football with th boys, he learned me many lessons. Fr Aran is an educator of Life.

"We are all in the gutter. But some of us are looking up ... at the stars." - Oscar Wilde.

Fr Aran learned us to keep looking ... at the stars!!!

Peace and love - Joe.


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