FR.CONSTANT LIEVENS SJ, THE APOSTLE OF JHARKHAND,
Fr. Lievens was a man consumed by the fire of God’s love. In him we see something of God’s power. Born at Moorselede, West-Flanders, Belgium, on 10.04.1856, he from the early childhood, fired by the love of Jesus Christ, dedicating one’s life to the service of humanity, which is the true sign of dedicating one’s life to God. In 1878 he joined the novitiate of the Society of Jesus and in 1880 he set out for India and reached Calcutta on December 2, 1880. Ordained a priest in 1883 he spent some time teaching at St. Xavier’s Calcutta and in 1885 he set out for Jharkhand, his mission.
‘Fire must burn’ was the motto of Fr. Lievens for the Apostle of Jharkhand it was pregnant with meaning. His heart burnt with zeal for the spread of God’s kingdom and the desire to give the light of Christ to all people. It was a fire that consumed his body and burnt it out. It explained his relentless travels up and down the hills of Jharkhand, Riding on a horse he reached out to the tribals in remote areas.
He cared for the people of Jharkhand, a people he called as his own his life. His goal was the total development of the clutches of landlords. Engaged in development of the people, total emancipation from all oppressive forces, specially form activities, he helped people to take up their lot in their own hands, to stand up for what is right and just.
In 1888 Fr. Lievens was appointed Director of the Lohardaga Mission. In the years that followed till 1892 we see this man of God incessantly moving from place to place goaded by the fire that was burning in him. Tens of thousands, from all over Jharkhand joined in the vast movement of human liberation led by Fr. Lievens. He helped and prepared the tribal’s of Jharkhand to enter into the mainstream of the nation with dignity and convinced them of the value and need of education.
Following the footsteps of the Master relentlessly, he worked himself to death. Consumed by consumption he had to leave India on 01.09.1892, with the hope of returning to the land of his love, “I have still much to do”, where his words. But that was not to be. Fr. Lievens was called to his eternal home on 07.11.1893 at Louvain, Belgium.
In the centenary year of the death of Fr. Constant Lievens, the Mortal Remains of this great missionary was brought back to the land of his adoption. After a tour of all the places he worked, his mortal remains were laid to final rest among his people at St. Mary’s Cathedral Church, Ranchi, on 07.11.1993.