Fr. Joseph Alexander – known as Joe – was born in Bettiah in a simple, devout family. Joe always lived that simplicity, led a deeply religious life – spending time with the Lord, devoted to the Rosary, a life totally committed to any responsibility as teacher, pastor, hostel director and Superior.
All moments of his life were devoted to God in prayer and work. With love, he taught the students, especially in the tribal areas of Kalna, Pandua, Gurap, Chamrusai, Burdwan, Kumrokhali, where, as a concerned pastor, he travelled long distances to celebrate Mass.
He taught in St. Lawrence, Raghabpur, Burdwan. Teachers from Burdwan St. Xavier’s say that he was a fatherly figure, taught the teachers how to make time-tables and organize teaching methods. He knew Bhojpuri, Oriya, Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Santali, English and French, which he used for ministry.
In the MC Leprosy Centre, Chittaranjan, with love he cleaned wounds, consoled and prayed with the patients. He was the founder of Scouts in Burdwan and other places.
Good in Journalism, in the Juniorate at Bangalore – with the first batch in 1977 – he started the Juniorate Newsletter Navataranga, which is published till today.
Joe loved Santal people, wrote books in Santali, using the Bengali script. He was about to bring out the NT in Santali, using Bengali script, and Vailankani Novena prayers in Hindi.
In June 2019, he was appointed Superior in the Pre-Novitiate. For some years he was under treatment for diabetes. In July, his overall check-up showed infection in the gall bladder. He had a successful operation. But physical weakness took him back to the Nursing Home. On 18th July, after his breakfast, he developed a massive heart attack. With that, Joe surrendered to his Master, at the age of 73, of which 48 years were as a Jesuit, and 37 years as a priest.
Timir Singha, SJ