//Br. Michael Lopes, SJ (GUJ) 1944-2023

Br. Michael Lopes, SJ (GUJ) 1944-2023

“The answers to life’s most complex problems are simple ones; think simple and you will not complicate your life.” This quote describes succinctly ‘simple brother’ Michael Lopes’ life. He enjoyed claiming “I am a simple brother”.  His impish smile reflected a happy nature, and brought solace to a host of fellow Jesuits and the people he very naturally reached out to.

Michael abandoned two secure government jobs, and joined the Gujarat Province in 1967. Clothed in his simplicity was an abiding love, especially for the poor. It spurred him to creative and effective ways of service to them. At the Umarpada mission, he started the boarding, a clothes shop for the tribals, further took charge of the cowshed and the house, and humbly managed a complexity of jobs. When posted at the Anklav Mission, he wisely replicated the shop that the villagers appreciated.

Michael’s apostolic service covers a wide spectrum, from managing the kitchen in the formation house at Premal Jyoti, Ahmedabad, to serving as minister in the Anand Parish community, and caringly spending pastoral time with the elderly parishioners. He also supervised the boarding at the Anklav mission. Finally, he was director of Saint Joseph’s Evening Classes in Vadodara which he started for poor students, to improve their performance. He put his heart into each of these and went out of his way to mobilize resources, in a language simple and direct like him. At times he would be seen gesticulating and remonstrating before the Lord in the Chapel, probably to get help for his poor. “Simple Brother” was blessed it seems, with a simple prayer-connection with his God.

Michael, whose faith and love of the Lord, propelled him to find Him in downright service of His poor, has now ‘entered the home of his Father’, to abide in Him eternally. Rest in God ‘Simple Brother’ and help us to ‘encounter’ the Lord as ‘simply’ as you did.

Vincent Braganza, SJ