Fr. Edward Jeganathan was born in a traditional Catholic family in Kodaikanal. Two of his sisters opted for religious life and his younger brother Fr. Amalraj entered the Society of Jesus in Gujarat Province.
As a formed Jesuit, he worked in Mauritius, an island nation with a mixed population of about 10 lakhs, 62% of whom were Hindus, the rest were Creoles, Chinese, Muslims and Europeans. Edward lived in Mauritius from 1971 to 1993, and was the pastor of a parish from 1986.
Edward’s next missionary assignment was in Seychelles (1993 to 2006). Noting that life here was too comfortable materially, without adequate returns in spiritual fruits, he returned to Madurai Province. Whenever he spoke of his missionary endeavors, he always spoke of Mauritius and would repeat the oft-quoted saying: “Mauritius was made first and then heaven; and heaven was copied after Mauritius.” Edward was a committed missionary, and for 34 years he worked tirelessly, cherishing the many moments of bringing people together in their differences as well as bringing them closer to God.
Back in India and based at Sacred Heart College, Shembaganur, Kodaikanal, Edward devoted himself to spiritual ministry, readily accepting assignments like celebrating the Eucharist, hearing confessions, and giving recollections and retreats. He helped many poor people and enthusiastically supported the social action ministry of PEAK (People’s Education for Action in Kodaikanal). Working in the Madurai Province archives at Shembaganur was a labour of love for him. Edward helped numerous people, Jesuits as well as non-Jesuits, with their research. His was a life so well lived that the joy that emanated from him radiated all around.
- Patrick Ravichandran, SJ