Veteran Spanish missionary dies in India
Spanish missionary Vicente Ferrer, whose work helping the poor in India for 55 years earned him comparisons to Mother Teresa, died Friday, his foundation announced. He was 89Madrid - Spanish missionary Vicente Ferrer, whose work helping the poor in India for 55 years earned him comparisons to Mother Teresa, died Friday, his foundation announced. He was 89.
The former Jesuit died at his home in Anantapur in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, said Blanca Romana, a spokeswoman for his eponymous foundation said.
"He died surrounded by his loved ones, as he had wished," Romana told the press.
Ferrer went into a coma after suffering a stroke on March 20.
Born in Barcelona in 1920, he arrived in Mumbai in 1952 as a Jesuit missionary.
"From then on he devoted the rest of his life to working to eradicating the suffering of the poorest in the country," his website said.
He was expelled by Indian authorities in 1968, but allowed to return the following year after a protest march by "more than 30,000 farmers, supported by intellectuals, politicians and religious leaders."
The foundation that bears his name is active in many villages in Anantapur, one of the poorest districts in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
Ferrer was awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of civil merit at the end of last year by the government of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. He received Spain's top distinction, the Prince of Asturias Concorde prize in 1988.
"It is with great sadness I write this message to announce that my dear husband and our good friend Vincent Ferrer has died peacefully at 1:15 am on June 19 after some complications following heart disease and a stroke he suffered recently," his wife Anna, a British journalist, and other family members and colleagues said in a message on the foundation's website.
"For me, my husband has not left us, but lives in every corner of Anantapur and every part of work in our villages. For all of us in India and Spain, he still lives through his simple words and messages that have meaning for all people, whatever their creed or condition."
AFP / Expatica