//John Britto Bonaventure, SJ (MDU) 1946-2023

John Britto Bonaventure, SJ (MDU) 1946-2023

Fr. John Britto Bonaventure’s’s association with Higher Education, first as a student and then as professor, research scholar and administrator, began and ended at St. Joseph’s College, Tiruchirappalli. His years of active ministry were mostly spent at St. Joseph’s with short stints at St. Xavier’s College, Palayamkottai (1977 to 1984), Clive House, Tiruchi (2017-19), St. Mary’s, Dindigul (2019-21) and Beschi Illam (2021-’22), Dindigul. Back again at St. Joseph’s in 2022, he continued with his research work and publications.

As an enthusiastic researcher in Botany, he became the chosen successor of Fr. K.M. Mathew as Director of the Herbarium and Anglade Institute of Research. He had proven leadership qualities. He was twice Principal of St. Joseph’s College (1991-2001 and 2004-2005) and although he had been Rector there once (1988-1991), he had to become the Rector again in difficult circumstances in December 2010. He continued to serve in that capacity till 2017. A visionary, he enabled St. Joseph’s campus to scale new heights by taking some important new initiatives.

On 29 September, with his legs swollen and kidneys not working properly, Fr. Britto was admitted to the hospital for haemodialysis. When everyone thought he was getting better, his condition deteriorated suddenly and he was anointed. At 5.16 p.m. on the following day, October 13, he breathed his last. On 14 October, Fr. Thomas Amirtham, the Provincial, presided over the Funeral Mass and Fr. I. Arul, Fr. Britto’s co- novice, was the homilist. Those who spoke after the Mass paid him rich tributes. Fr. Britto’s mortal remains were then laid to rest in the crypt below the College Church of Our Lady of Lourdes.

– A.I. Rajasekaran, SJ