Monday, January 22, 2018



by Domigos Maurício Gomes dos Santos, S. J.



The Portuguese disembarked at Macau in 1555, establishing themselves legally on terra firma in 1557. The Jesuits only arrived around 1565 and prior to this date, we merely encounter them passing through. The first member of the Society to step ashore in Macau was Father Belchior Nunes Barreto, emissary to Japan, who arrived on 20 November with Fernão Mendes Pinto, Father Gaspar Vilela and six other companions. Just before, in October, he had visited Canton with Estêvão de Góis, travelling from Sancian (Shangchuan) in the Portuguese merchant ships which traded from the little island with some of the neighbouring ports in the Celestial Empire. On this visit, he was successful in obtaining the freedom of several Portuguese held captive in the city. In Lampacau he found around three hundred compatriots living in "straw houses" with their church. From there, he travelled on to Japan where he remained until 1556, returning to Goa in 1557.
In Easter 1561, Balthazar Gago came to Macau with Rui Pereira, leaving again for Malacca on 1 January 1562. By this time, there were as many as some five to six hundred Portuguese living in Macau.
On 24 August of the same year, more Jesuits sailed into the new trading post from Malacca aboard the ship of Dom Pedro da Guerra. One of them was destined for fame as a historian of the Japan missions: Father Luís Fróis who had recently been ordained in Goa. Another was the Italian Father Giovanni Battista Del Monte. The Society as yet had no residence in Macau so the priests were "welcomed and cared for in the home of a friend" of the Order, Guilherme Pereira, the brother of Diogo and benefactor of Saint Francis Xavier. He had gone with them as Captain-Major of the Portuguese in Macau, and ambassador of the Viceroy of India, Dom Francisco Coutinho, Count of Redondo (7-9-1561 - 19-2-1564) to the emperor of China.
The two Jesuits remained as guests in the home of the merchant between a week and ten days. After this point, however, they opted to go to the home of another friend "to find greater quiet and, to be honest, to be able to advance their studies". Here they adapted "two very fine and comfortable chambers for the priests and extended a balcony" where they set up an altar to say mass as the nearest church lay some distance away. Of the three churches which existed in Macau at the time (Santo António, Nossa Senhora da Esperança and São Lourenço) they must have been referring to the mother church, Nossa Senhora da Esperança (also known as São Lázaro) which later became the Cathedral when Macau was made a diocese by the Papal bull Super Specula of 23 January, 1576.
The two missionaries' spiritual activities were remarkable. The population had grown to five thousand of whom eight hundred were Portuguese. Their moral state, however, was lamentable. Pastoral work was the responsibility of two secular priests: Gregorio González, a Spaniard, and João Soares, treasurer of the bishop of Malacca. The newly-arrived Jesuits helped them, managing to convince the merchants to send back to India six hundred and fifty female slaves whose domestic situation was anomalous as their masters were married to well-bred Chinese and Japanese women of an appropriate social status.
The Jesuits had still not established themselves in Macau, however, and Fróis and Del Monte travelled to Japan in the early summer of 1563 on the same ship belonging to Dom Pedro da Guerra.
In April of the same year a ship left Cochim, putting in to Malacca on 13 June and arriving in the City of the Name of God on 7 July. It carried Gil de Góis, King Sebastian's envoy to the emperor of China, sent in the hope of establishing relations, and also Fathers Francisco Peres and Manuel Teixeira, the first biographer of Saint Francis Xavier, accompanied by Brother André Pinto who was later ordained.
Intrigues for which the Captain of Malacca, Dom Francisco de Eça was responsible, meant that this mission was also abandoned and Góis returned to India, leaving his brother-in-law, Diogo Pereira, the Captain-Major of Macau and first envoy to have failed in the mission to China, to replace him in the new mission whenever permission arrived from Canton.
Where did these new missionaries stay? Francisco Peres makes reference to this, writing in a letter of January 1664: "in the home of Pêro Quinteiro, where we are now living".
Peres and Teixeira followed in the footsteps of the priests who had sailed on to Japan, Fróis and Del Monte, by using their spare time to collect information about the Celestial Empire, establishing contact with the mandarins in the ports of Macau and Canton and dedicating themselves to pastoral work amongst Macau's population. In the meantime, the embassy became more and more complicated. The mandarins in Macau had notified the mandarins of Canton. As was the norm, the latter requested the head of the customs department to find out the truth and to evaluate whether or not this was a ploy for evading taxes on the pretext of gifts for the emperor.
Father Peres had been charged by the Father Provincial of India, António de Quadros (1559-1572) with founding a residence in Macau. This was all the more pressing due to the certainty that successive waves of missionaries would be passing through on their way to Japan and the wait for the monsoon winds meant that the travellers underwent considerable delays in the trading post.
As it was, a further three Jesuits arrived in 1563: Belchior de Figueiredo, João Cabral and Baltasar da Costa. The indulgence conceded by Pope Pins IV for the jubilee year of 1560 which was published in Malacca in 1561 when the first prelate Dom Jorge de Santa Luzia arrived there, was extended to Macau in the following year through the above-mentioned treasurer, João Soares.
Thanks to this indulgence, the chapel in the Jesuits' residence became a centre of spiritual renewal used by three hundred Portuguese while the same number frequented the mother church, thanks to the help received from the Japan voyagers.
In the meantime, news arrived from Canton where bad impressions abounded due to the kidnapping of children, which the kidnappers attributed to the Portuguese. The mandarin's envoy was intent on extracting detailed information about the ambassador, the members of his embassy and the quality of the gifts for the emperor. He was taken to the home of Captain-major Diogo Pereira, ambassador Gil de Góis (who had still not left [for India]) and the priests. He ordered that the gifts be displayed for him in the church of the Jesuits which would indicate that it was a fairly large space. He behaved respectfully inside the building and was pleased with the jewels and flattered at the deference shown to him not only with the preserves and refreshments but also in the farewell banquet. He even went so far as to confide that it was not the Portuguese, but the Chinese who had been stealing children, the subject of complaints in Canton, and four had been condemned to death.
When he returned to China he supported Portugal's cause. On 24 November 1565 Manuel Penedo accompanied by Father Peres and Teixeira were allowed to negotiate the embassy. The credentials empowering the ambassador had been burned in a fire in Malacca, however, and so it came to nought.
Father Peres still tried to obtain a piao (permit) which would allow him to travel inside the continent. To this effect, he submitted a memorial requesting permission to enter written in Portuguese and English and addressed to the general treasurer of the Customs House who was also in charge of foreign affairs. He was asked whether he was familiar with the Chinese language and when he replied in the negative his request was refused until such time as he had mastered it. The doors to China remained stubbornly closed. Yet cause for new hope arose. Shortly after this attempt, Canton was barricaded by pirates. The mandarins requested assistance from the Portuguese in Macau and, without consulting the captain-major (by this time João Pereira) they got together a band of three hundred men led by Diogo Pereira and Luís de Melo. They managed to capture almost all the bandits without any loss of life. The friend of St. Francis Xavier then asked the military commander of the city to sponsor their request for an embassy to visit the emperor. However, the latter refused to grant an audience and the mandarins could only guarantee they would facilitate traffic in the port of Canton.
Under these conditions, Peres tried to follow the orders of the Provincial of India in setting up a stable residence in Macau with its triple objective now better defined: a resting place in the long journey to Japan; a waiting room for going to China at the right moment; and a centre of spiritual assistance for the growing city where trading developments were making the population expand visibly.
In late 1565, the Jesuit residence moved from the home of Pêro Quinteiro to other buildings, also made of earth and covered with wood and straw, which stood next to the humble hermitage of Santo António. It was not long before they had to move again. The inflammable materials lent themselves to frequent arson attacks by the Chinese on the house and chapel so that the contents could be stolen. The administrative conditions governing whether or not the Portuguese could rebuild were precarious as permission depended on the mandarins who opposed anything more than the basic requirements for transitory commercial traffic.
In spite of everything, the Jesuits tempted fate and moved up above the hermitage of Santo António. The worst was that there was no water on the slope but Baltasar de Lage donated one hundred taels and a well was sunk between the tower and the back door to the church. In 1573, as the residence was being built on instructions from Dom António de Vilhena who had been requested by the Visitor Gonçalo Ávares to rebuild it on a larger scale and using wattle rather than simply wood and straw as had been the case up till that point, the mandarins placed embargos on the work believing it to be a cover for the construction of a fortress.
Peres and Teixeira still managed, however, "to conclude everything using good reason and bribes", as Sebastião Gonçalves states.
The building was once again extended between 1572 and 1575 or 1578. This was to allow accommodation for more guests passing through on their way to Japan, China and Tonkin when the missions opened there.
There were now ten huge, airy rooms with their respective community rooms. So convenient was it that in 1579 Valignano declared the new residence of the Mother of God one of the best in India and the Far East. Three years later, in 1582, Pêro Gomes had the roof tiled.


The Jesuits lost no time in adding the task of education to their pastoral duties. From their very origins, they had taken this task to heart both in Europe and overseas.
In Macau they began in 1572 with a school for Reading and Writing which probably opened after the first extensions were built. Years later they introduced Latin. The number of pupils quickly increased. In 1592 there were some two hundred including the children of residents in Macau and the slave children who accompanied them, a reflection of the spirit of social and racial integration which was already a mark of the Portuguese expansion in the Far East.
In the same year, following the third General Consultation of Missionaries organised by Alexander Valignano in Nagasaki, the first vice-provincial congregation was held between February and July. The idea of setting up a college for Japanese Jesuit students outside Japan was discussed. The upheaval of civil war was taking its toll on the young men, jeopardising the tranquility of their studies and ascetic training. Also, they could only gain from exposure to an entirely Christian, western environment which, in spite of everything, Portuguese Macau could offer. There they would be able to learn the language, habits and lifestyles of the Europeans, "becoming more united and akin to ourselves and highly endowed in virtues and the arts”.
Situated at the heart of the Far East, Macau was the ideal location for this aim. The procurator of the Japan mission, which had some assets in the City of the Name of God, saw that these would be sufficient for the new project, and therefore presented no obstacles to it. The Congregation decided to advance with the project as soon as possible.
Valignano the Visitor left for Macau on 9 October arriving there on the 24th. He waited in the residence of the Mother of God until around 15 or 16 November, 1594 for a passage to Goa. While he was waiting, he discussed the project with the fathers of the China Mission in whose jurisdiction the territory lay. It was a foregone conclusion. In effect, the Superior of the Mission and Rector of the Residence and College of the Mother of God, Father Duarte Sande (1585-1598), was considering renovations. The facilities were cramped and uncomfortable, even for day pupils. Pupils were living on top of each other "indecently, all in a jumble", as he stated to the city Chamber in the February of the following year. Thanks to the growth in the population and the economic prosperity brought by trading, there was no reason to dismiss the idea of a cultural centre for the Far East like St. Paul's in Goa was for all of India spreading as far as Malacca and the Moluccas, East Africa and Ethiopia. The people of Macau called the Jesuits "Paulists", because they had come from the famous Goan college. Was not this an appropriate reason for a building which, built with the same spirit and of a suitable size, would respond to the Macanese aspiration for more school subjects for the local children, and also make the Mother of God a training centre for missionaries from Japan to China, Tonkin and the other countries in this far-flung corner of the world?
The plot of land set aside for the new building posed a problem. However, after looking, space was found near the Residence and College, further up on the hillside, "covered with rocky outcrops and no secure ground for the foundations". Although this would make construction more expensive, the location was healthy and the landscape attractive. Using the outcrops and quarried stones "many large, strong walls were built on the slopes of the hill, and these were used to make a spacious enclosure where the college could be built along with its courtyards". As "the College was located halfway up the hill" it enjoyed an "excellent view" and was "exposed to all the good winds which come in from the sea and, on the other hand" it was "sheltered from all ruinous, unhealthy winds so that the College was very cool and well located".
As the Portuguese were traders and the Chinese population little suited to heavy work, it was lucky that at that time skilled stonemasons were passing through Macau from Chinchew, a hundred leagues off.
Once the master of works, Inácio Moreira, had given his agreement and the plans of the College were drawn up, work began on levelling off the ground and foundations. The limited available capital and the fact that the college was not only intended for training missionaries but also for educating the young people of Macau, Father Sande requested assistance from the city Chambers. The Senado was well aware of the cramped conditions in schools. This crowding was both indecent and uncomfortable in the Summer. Due to this situation, and because it was a project which would help the Japan Mission, he asked the Senado for "two hundred taels of silver from the funds and profits from the silk which had been sent that year to Japan". Councillors António da Costa, sr, Francisco de Novais Ferreira and Antão Caldeira and treasurer Bernardino Araújo de Alvarenga, granted the request in a deed written by the scribe Gaspar da Rocha on 27 February 1593.
Shortly afterwards, Father Miguel Soares asked for a loan of this money and Father Sande promised him payment on 4 March. The budget had to be increased by another thirty taels which the master of works, Inácio Moreira stated he had received on 7 July.
We can see from this that the project was not the focus of unconditional support. Although there was no opposition from the mandarins (if there had been any, it would certainly have been calmed with some fine ingots of silver) there were serious misgivings from the province of Goa. When news arrived of the project, a meeting was held and a list produced of fifteen "reasons due to which it appeared that... a Jesuit College should not be founded in Macau". Even Francisco Cabral, a expert on Japanese affairs but who did not always share the same opinions as Valignano, disagreed with the idea of a college for Japanese in Macau as he viewed this as a process of westernisation. In virtue of the influence he wielded over Father Manuel Venegas, procurator for Japanese affairs in Lisbon, the matter was taken to the royal court and Filipe II ordered the viceroy of India and the archbishop of Goa to report on whether it was necessary to found a college.
Valignano was not a man to give up easily. In order to neutralise the resistance from Goa, he sent Father General Acquaviva (1581-1615) detailed "information as to why the Macau College was founded and a response to the contrary objections emanating from India". His main reason was the support offered by Goa... because it was responsible for many undertakings, lay far off and had few people, help was always insufficient, uncertain and slow in arriving.
Under the influence of the dynamic Valignano, work carried on at a fast pace. "In just over one year, the building was completely finished". It was certainly on a grand scale. The Annual Report of 1594 offers a vivid description: "The new College structure was erected, fitting into the space with a back wall and two very large houses which stand out from this with a beautiful courtyard between them; and the two houses which protrude like bulwarks stand two storeys high. The back wall made of earth, is like a corridor with cubicles and stands at the same height as the upper storey of the houses. At the foot of the hill which is connected to the upper part with two or three flights of steps, stands the school with its courtyard and the entrance to other workshops. Further up, there are other offices, very well fitted out, for the officials. In front of the entrance there is another very large, closed courtyard. Consequently, this college can hold forty persons from the Society in very comfortable accommodation because apart from the four schools, upstairs there are nineteen cubicles, two halls, two chapels and a large, beautiful infirmary. Below, there are another seven cubicles with all the other workshops very well fitted out given that the Father [Visitor?] has decided to make another, new, refectory for where we eat now is on loan to us and we have much space left for building if necessary".
The residents of Macau were involved so enthusiastically in the project that it was completed "without having to spend a coin belonging to the Japan account or the Society”. Even so, just the work for the new verandah to the infirmary cost ten thousand taels.
Prior to leaving Macau, Valignano set up two separate communities. The Residence of the Mother of God, linked to the vice-province of China, housed ten members of the Society headed by the Superior Lourenço Mexia. The College of St. Paul depended on the Japan province and had nineteen members of the Society including the visitor. There were an additional eight or ten students from Japan and others from India and the rector was Father Duarte de Sande. The proximity of the two buildings, however, meant that contact was easy and ultimately they were joined in September 1597 when Father Manuel Dias was rector. Thus they became a single institution comprising both residence and college which was called Mother of God and St. Paul's indiscriminately.
This was proven in the various vicissitudes suffered by the structures. Effectively, in 1595 when Lourenço Mexia was Superior, the residence built in 1578 was burnt down after which it was rebuilt on the grounds of the Society. In 1601, after another more appalling fire, a precursor of the final scenario which was played out in 1835, the church and three quarters of the college were destroyed, the damage worsened by the effects of a typhoon which followed shortly afterwards. The rector, Valentim de Carvalho (1601-1604) managed to bring together a group of residents to make good the damage. Led by the captain-major, the city offered 0.005% of the profits from the goods brought back from Japan which was equivalent to 6,200 French pounds. In charge of the project was Carlo Spinola, a Genoan Jesuit architect who would later be martyred in Japan. The plans were so daring that the History of the Ming later claimed there had never been anything so ambitious in all of China. The façade was to be emphasised in the rebuilding at a cost of 32,000 patacas obtained from donations. In 1603, the work on the interior was finished: the city's willingness to support the arts was thus recorded in the phrase engraved the previous year on a corner stone, reading "Virgini Magnae Matri Civitas Macaensis libens posuit anno 1602". The principal door to the college adjoining the church was finished in 1604 while the façade was only completed in 1634 with some of the sculptures taking until 1644 to be put in place. Some changes were made to the main body of the church in 1608 and the chapel of St. Francis Xavier was to be completed in 1689.
In time, the church was fitted with rich ornaments and a number of relics which, if the truth be told, were not all genuine. The organ (which was probably Italian) and the paintings by European, Chinese and Japanese artists, including Jacob Niwa and other students of the Italian Jesuit Giovanni Nicoló delighted both Christians and gentiles alike who visited the church. A magnificent clock which had been given to the French Jesuits by Louis XIV, chimed the hours elaborately for the whole City.
Prior to 28 October 1594, the college had four classes: one in Reading and Writing with over 250 pupils; one in Grammar; and one in the Humanities which had been added in the same year attended by seven Jesuit brothers from India in addition to the outside students. Some more students came to join them from Japan and Goa to make up the first year in an Arts course in 1595. Apart from these classes, there were lessons in Cases (Moral Theology).
"And time, adds the compiler of the annual report, with the help of God and the return of the Visitor Father gave to understand that it would be beneficial to add some more classes and other advanced studies." There were still no public classes in Dogma but lessons could be taken in private with two priests who were in the college at the expense of the China mission.
The official separation of the two communities took place on the day of the "Eleven Thousand Virgins" (21 October 1594) in the presence of the Visitor. One of the priests who taught theology gave a public lecture on the subject. The ceremony began with a talk in Latin on the opening of the college "to the satisfaction of the Bishop and all the Orders and many god-fearing persons who had given their help". On 1 December, classes began in the new building.


Valignano had left for Goa in mid-November 1594. On 23 April 1597 he returned to the Far East, arriving in Macau on 20 July where he stayed for almost a year. He still held the idea of the college close to his heart and the results spurred on his interest. His organisational genuis and mind rich with regulations and agreements, set to reshaping educational and institutional life in St. Paul's. Naturally, he based his ideas on Ratio Studiorum which had been published ad experimentum in Rome in 1591 by Father Acquaviva. This clearly reflected the influence of the Regulations of the College of Arts of Coimbra dated 1559 and 1565 with those adaptations which were reasonable and necessary in view of this highly heterogeneous intellectual environment and the Oriental climate, culture and civilisation, thus ensuring a positive outcome.
In October 1598, Valignano established a new Ordo for the schools. The preface stated that "Although this College has just been established, as far as the studies are concerned no certain order has been defined and the teachers and students who will study here are from various provinces where there are different customs in organising schools. Consequently, if here we have no certain order, it will be easy for great confusions to arise with changes each year and so I thought it would be appropriate to make some notes of what should be followed in these studies, in addition to what is ordered in the Ratio Studiorum, which shall be implemented insofar as can be followed depending on the number of teachers and classes in this college."
The school year began on 15 September with the profession of faith following Pope Pins IV's formula by the prefect of studies, the teachers and their assistants in the church after the students' Mass.
The Latin classes began at seven o'clock in the morning commencing with a brief discourse in the language lasting a quarter of an hour and attended by the rector and teachers wearing their capes. The same occurred in the afternoon classes.
At the profession of faith, debates, talks and all public acts in the Arts course, places were assigned according to the category of authority and representation of the respective professors. When the rector or prefect of studies attended they were treated with particular deference, with all present bowing to them and repeating the address of Rector religiosissime or Gymnasiarcha integerrime. If the Bishop or captain-major were present, they took precedence with equivalent forms of address.
In the debates, those arguing against the conclusions would have to persuade the rector, prefect of studies and the rest of the audience. The same was true for the defendants. The conclusions would be shown to the prefect of studies before being read in public.
The school day would begin and end with a short prayer said kneeling before an image exposed for veneration in the school grounds.
Greetings by teachers and students followed the etiquette of the day.
Teachers paid close attention to the spiritual life of their students, even lay students. Bells were rung at seven o'clock in the morning for the first class and again at 9:30 when it finished. For the remaining classes in the morning a single chime was rung. The same routine was followed in the afternoon.
Students were not allowed to carry weapons in the school courtyards and classrooms.
Holidays and rest days were also set. Holidays in Theology, Morals, the Arts course and the first year in Latin began on the morning of 14 July and ended on 14 September. Elementary classes had a month's holiday beginning on 14 August and ending also on 14 September.
The weekly day of rest was on a Wednesday so long as this was not a Saint's day. If the latter were the case, the rest day was postponed until the Thursday. If a Saint's day fell on a Saturday, the day of rest on the Wednesday was still retained. On any other day, a Saint's day was regarded as a holiday. On the feast day of St. Francis Xavier, there were no lessons and it was treated like any other saint's day.
The afternoon of Christmas Eve, the Monday and Tuesday of Carnival, the morning of Ash Wednesday and Wednesday of Holy Week until Easter Sunday, and every afternoon when vespers or compline were sung in the college church were also regarded as holidays. Lessons were not interrupted for sermons, jubilees or festivals in any other church.
The timetables for lessons were carefully organised both for the Latin classes and for the Arts course, Morals (Cases) and Dogma.
In Latin classes, the teachers lectured for two and a half hours each morning (from 7:00 to 9:30) and two hours each afternoon apart from Saturdays when there were only classes for an hour and a half in the morning.
In Winter, from 8 November until Ash Wednesday, the afternoon classes began at 2:30 because of the shorter days. On days when Latin was taught, in the afternoon the Jesuit students would have three quarters of an hour of repetitions straight after the Litany of the Saints, except for days when there was confession or a spiritual talk.
On Saturday afternoons, just before the bell rang to dismiss the class, the Latin masters who had lay students would recite the Litany of Loreto with their students in front of a statue in the appropriate niche.
Attention was paid to the rules of etiquette in relations between teacher and student. If the student were a Jesuit, whenever a question was directed towards him he would remove his cap and stand up. The master would respond by doffing his biretta and ordering him to sit down and cover his head again to reply. Lay students recited their lessons standing with their heads bared and, unless they belonged to a religious order, teachers would address them in the familiar form.
Students of Rhetoric, or defendants, both Jesuit and lay, would sit near the teacher's chair with their heads uncovered and remained so for the readings of the disserations. When the dissertations were public, they would be read from the chair wearing a cape and cap.
In 1597, the Arts course was recognised as a university course as was the case in Évora and Coimbra. The inauguration involved the reading of a dissertation De necessitate et utilitate Dialecticae and a short introductory lecture during which the rector, the prefect of studies and the other teachers were present. If there was no dictation of the commentary on the text (glossa), the classes lasted one and a half hours (8:00 to 9:30) in the morning and similarly in the afternoon from 3:30 to 5:00. When there was dictation, classes lasted two and a half hours in the morning and two in the afternoon.
Every Thursday afternoon there would be a debate with two students defending a conclusion or thesis given in the previous day's lesson and the other students arguing against. Once a month, these debates would be more official in nature. The conclusions to be defended would be displayed in the classroom and inside the college two days beforehand and the rector, prefect of studies, the teachers of Dogma and Morals would be present along with the theologians.
Whenever there were lessons in the afternoon and it was not a confession day, Jesuit Arts students held a debate chaired by a theologian for forty five minutes marked by the ringing of a bell for this purpose a quarter of an hour after lessons finished.
Questioning in the Arts classes was also subject to the rules of etiquette. Lay students would recite the lesson and reply sitting with their heads uncovered unless they had taken holy orders. In debates, all students responded sitting with their heads bare. The teachers would address lay students who had not taken holy orders in the familiar form.
The course lasted for three academic years and ended with a public examination in front of three examiners, one of whom would preside, making a small speech to this effect at the first of the four tests each of which lasted for the time occupied by a whole day's timetable. Questions were asked on all aspects of Logic, in other words the Universals, the Predicaments, On Interpretation, the Prior Analytics, the Posterior Analytics, the Topics, and the Sophistical Refutations or invalid forms of reasoning. Finally, the candidate would have to respond to a paralogism by pointing out the fallacy in the reasoning.
In addition to this, candidates for the degree of Master of Arts would defend a problem of Physics and another of Metaphysics argued by three examiners. Questioning by each examiner could also include any aspect of Logic, and any other philosophical disciplines.
The setting for the examinations was particularly imposing. The rector, prefect of studies, the president of the examiners and the two other examiners were seated on high benches with, in descending order, the teachers of Dogma and Morals and so on, apart from the teachers of the Arts course who were not involved in the examinations. Theology students, members of other orders and the other secular scholars were also allowed to attend.
The first oral test, or pedra would take place in the following fashion:
The whole class would prepare a canopy over the place where the rector and the examiners sat. The pedra would be brought in as part of a solemn ceremony accompanied by music. The chairman of the examiners would make a short speech at the end of which the choir would sing once more. There would be another speech given by the examinee, standing with his head bared behind the uncovered stone. When he had finished, he would go back to his place and there would be more music. After this, the candidate would come forward and sit on the stone. Then the chairman would begin the examination proper with the words "Religiose et perdocte respondens" (in the case of Jesuits) or "Ingeniose ac perdocte respondens" (for candidates who were lay students). "Pro initio tui examinis, responde quaestionibus solitis et propone tuum physicum et metaphysicum problema". At this, the examinee would rise from the stone and respond: "Sic jubet, sapientissimus et religiosissimus praeses, ut pro initio mei examinis respondeam quaestionibus solitis et proponam mea physicum et metaphysicum problemata. Quomian sic jubet, mihi nomen est NN., patria N". If the examinee was a member of the Jesuits, the formula was slightly altered to "Mihi nomen est NN; pro reliquis, Societas Jesu". He would then continue: "Audivi omnia requisite ad pracsens examen a sapientissimo et religiosissimo praeceptore meo patre N". Once this had been recited, he would sit down on the stone and propose the problems in the following form: "Meum physicum problema petit (i.e.) num totum physicum distinguatur realiter a partibus simul sumptis, annon? Ego teneo partem affirmitavam. Nunc, idem metaphysicum problema petit (i.e.): utrum omnes actiones sint suppositorum, cui ego respondeo per has propositiones: 1a Propono: Actiones proficiscuntur a suppositis, vel ab agentibus quo: 2a Propono: Actiones terminantur etc."
Once the problems had been proposed, the chairman would begin an examination of the Universals using the following formula: "Reliogose et perdocte respondens, pro doctrina Praedicabilium, dic quot sint Universalia?"
The examinee would respond: "Sic jubet sapientissimus et religiosissimus Praeses" and so on. Once the chairman was satisfied as to his responses to the questions on the Universals, the first examiner would proceed to the Predicaments and the second examiner would question him on On Interpretation. The chairman would examine him on the Prior Analytics and the same procedure would be followed for the remainder of the time until the examination of the treatises on all aspects of Logic. Once this was concluded, each examiner presented his argument against each of the problems proposed by the examinee.
The second candidate began the examination with the first examiner, followed by the second examiner and then the chairman until all the subject matter had been covered and the arguments against the problems presented.
For the first pedra, the dissertation and cross examination on the subject were held on the same day. For the remaining tests, the dissertations could be presented in the afternoon and the oral examinations and defence carried out the following morning. Music was only played after the speeches or dissertations on the first day. Lay students could furnish the classrooms and cover the benches of their fellow students as they pleased as the examiners' benches were always covered with rugs.
Once the questioning and defence of the problems had finished there were the so-called "boards" which were directed by the course master. Here the candidates had to undergo a second test to gain the title of master of arts.
In Coimbra the tests were called "boards of philosophy [consisting of] some tables placed in order. Candidates seated on a stool in front of the jury with their heads uncovered defended conclusions on philosophical subjects which were distributed by the Regent. These "boards" are called boards of second response when those who reply to the so-called greater response also reply in the tests, exchanging subject matter, for instance Morals for Logic and Logic for Morals.".
In Macau, according to one of the protocols arranged by Valignano, the classroom was prepared with a chair and high, covered stools, as it was for the examinations, and the board made its solemn entry at seven o'clock in the morning and three o'clock in the afternoon.
The rector, prefect of studies and other teachers, priests and theologians took their places in order of importance on the high stools. The Master of the Arts Course sat in his chair near to which the candidates were also seated on an upholstered bench with a table in front of it covered with a silk cloth or a rug. On it they each lay their conclusions. On entering the hall, there was music following which on the morning of the first day, the master took the chair and made a short speech concerning the occasion. Afterwards, there was more singing and the master would immediately begin discussing the issues proposed by the defendants in their conclusions: first of all, Logic, then Physics and finally Metaphysics.
Each candidate organised a schedule of nine conclusions for the subject he was to defend beforehand. He had to submit this list a few days before the examination to whoever he wished to argue against them, even if these were only student theologians.
The master would begin, addressing the first candidate in the following terms: "Ei qui sedet primo loco et defendet conclusiones dialecticas, hanc propono quaestionem: num Christus Dominus ponatur in praedicamento substantiae?" After presenting the arguments for and against, he would submit one objection to the candidate's conclusions. Without waiting for any answer, he would also present his objections in the same way to the conclusions for Physics and Metaphysics.
After the candidate had answered the master, other members present such as priests or scholars would voice their arguments. Then the defendants would answer in such a way as to show their respect and reverence for the rector, the prefect of studies, the course master who chaired the proceedings, and the remainder of those present. This would go on with other boards each morning and evening. In each, there were between four and six candidates although the master only spoke in the first.
At the end of each session, while the rector was still seated, the chairman would remove his biretta and say: "Reliquum est, ut Deo optimo maximo immortales gratias agamus, et vobis omnibus, viri ornatissimi, qui vestra praesentia hanc nostrorum actuum aulam decorare voluistis". Thereupon they all withdrew.
As can be seen, before the end of the sixteenth century, academic acts in Macau's Arts course were endowed with the same degree of ceremony as those in Coimbra and the College of St. Paul In Goa and in Brazil.
The curriculum laid down by Valignano went beyond that of a simple Arts course. it also included Moral Theology (Cases) and Dogma. This was appropraite given the concerns which already existed about training local priests and complementing the studies of Jesuits who had travelled from Europe and India without having covered these ecclesiastical subjects or recruits from Portuguese communities in the Far East who were not sent to Goa due to reasons of safety or cost.
At the same time, the priests of the diocese who had already been ordained could, if their prelates so decided, further the frequently rudimentary training they had received. This was particularly important in the field of matrimony which was a complex issue in countries where they carried out their missions, and also matters of commutative justice in the heady trading atmosphere of places such as Macau.
There were two teachers of Moral Theology (Cases) and, according to Valignano's study plan "they would lecture on the subject for one hour each day alternating with the teachers of Dogma, dictating for three quarters of an hour and explaining for one [quarter of an hour]."
Each month there were debates on Moral Cases on a Saturday afternoon. These lasted for an hour and a half and two days before they were due to take place some conclusions would be placed on the classroom door and inside the college precincts. The discussions were chaired in turn by the masters depending on which subject they taught and were attended by the rector, the prefect of studies, the masters of Moral Theology and Dogma, the students of theology and other priests depending on which subjects they studied.
Casuists and theologians would present the cases, their heads uncovered. On every teaching day, whenever there were lessons on the afternoon and there was no confession or spiritual talk (Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays), the casuists had repetitions for three quarters of an hour in the following order. On the first teaching day of the week there would be general meetings with the attendance of all priests from the residence as well as the students. On the second day only the students had repetitions in a subject given by another master who would attend the session. On the third day there would be a general meeting as happened on the first, and on the fourth there would be reflections as on the second.
In the Dogma classes each master would teach for an hour, dictating a commentary for the first three quarters of an hour and explaining it for the remaining fifteen minutes. These lessons began as soon as the previous ones had ended. If there was no commentary, the teacher would teach for half an hour.
The students of theology had debates every teaching day. These lasted for forty five minutes and were marked by the chiming of a bell. They were chaired alternately by the masters, each one discussing the subject of his course. Each month between three and nine conclusions would be debated in the class, these being posted on the college doors and inside the college some days beforehand.
The debates and discussions of cases of conscience were attended by the rector, the prefect of studies and the other teachers as well as priests from the community. Students of theology could voice their arguments but with their heads bared.
The defendant used a special formula reflecting the purity of his faith. After repeating the objection of the person voicing the argument and prior to repeating it in order to check whether he had understood it correctly, he would say the following: "Sed, antequam argumento satisfaciam, quam breviter disputabo (and then standing up), invocato prius divini Numinis auxilio Patris (he would then cross himself), Filij et Spiritus Sancti necnon Beatae Virginis, illud interim adsero, si quid inter loquendum dixero quod Romanae Ecclesiae, Sacris Concilijs, Sanctorum Patrum doctrinae repugnare videatur, id indictum sit". Once he had expressed this reservation, he would then take his seat and repeat the argument which had been made. Finally, he would express the purity of his faith: "Si quid dixi quod Romanae Ecclesiae, etc.".
21 October, the Day of the Eleven Thousand Virgins and a particularly important day of devotion for Portuguese Jesuits, was appointed for the ceremonial commencement of the school year. On this day, there were debates on Theology with between nine and fifteen or twenty conclusions.
In the middle of the church transept there was a fairly large space which was carpeted and surrounded by benches covered with rugs. On the side of the Evangelist there was a chair and standing next to it a bench for the defendant both of which were covered with rugs. The school bell chimed for half an hour from one thirty until two o'clock when the ceremony began.
There was music to begin with, followed by an inaugural speech to open the new academic year as required by the 1591 Ratio Studiorum. Then there would be more music before the debates began according to the canons specified for academic ceremonies in Theology. In view of the importance of this inaugural session, if the bishop or captain-major of Macau were present he would be given a special seat in the carpeted area. Sitting in front of the chairman and to the side facing the main door would be the rector, the prefect of studies, and the other teachers and priests of the residence.
On the other side facing the high altar would be the clergy from outside the residence. The students of the Society would occupy the remaining benches. One of them would be holding copies of the conclusions, usually printed, to hand to the bishop or the captain-major so that he in turn could hand them first of all to whomsoever he wished so that they could give their arguments. Then he would give copies to those whom the prefect of studies had appointed to present their arguments. The prefect of studies had to pay particular respect to the members of other orders who would be sent copies of the conclusions or theses to be defended some days before to give them time to prepare their arguments effectively.
This gives an impression of the elementary and higher studies available in the College of St. Paul in Macau. It was not a full ecclesiastical university given that it did not teach Canon Law. Nor could it be regarded as a civil university -- Studium generale -- with all the subjects which were available, for instance, in Coimbra University as it did not offer Civil Law or Medicine. Nevertheless, there can be no denying the fact that it was a true centre of higher education as it awarded degrees.
In effect, António Cardim who served as rector of St. Paul's College for four years from 31 August 1632 until 1636, makes the same claim both with regard to the title of Master of Arts and to the Doctor of Theology. As he wrote in Batalhas da Companhia de Jesus, concerning the former "In the college church, the degree of Master of Arts is awarded to those who merit it and the candidates arrive from their home places accompanied by their friends and sponsors all riding on horseback with musicians in front as happens in the universities in Europe". He describes the latter in Relatione della Provincia del Giappone sent to Pope Innocent X in 1645: "The College of the Society of Jesus in Macau... is a university providing instruction from the very basic subjects to Theology awarding the degree of Doctor to those who succeed in their studies in this University". For a single objective view of the level of teaching provided, we have merely to look to the comments of Alexander de Rhodes: "On y apprend toutes les sciences que nous enseignons dans toutes nos grandes académies".


The independent status given to the College of St. Paul in December 1594 by Alexander Valignano and the formal organisation of higher studies in Theology and Arts which began in 1597 (with the awarding of degrees) meant that the college effectively became a university establishment. Consequently, historically it can be described as the first western university in the Far East.
In fact, the two other institutions which could lay claim to fame as the first establishments of tertiary education would be St. Joseph's College and Seminary founded by the Spanish Jesuits in Manila and the College of St. Thomas, which was to become the celebrated university founded by the Domincans in the same city.
The College of Manila took its first steps in 1590-1595 but only became a settled institution in September 1595 offering classes in moral Theology and Grammar. St. Joseph's College and Seminary dates from 1601 when courses in Philosophy started but academic degrees in Arts and Theology were only awarded, according to Ludwig Koch and de la Costa, from 1623. Thus the picture stands. According to church law, the colleges of the Society were generally entitled to award academic degrees to Jesuit and lay students, from 1552 and 1578 and then from 1621 in the Indies. This privilege was only extended to the College of Manila in 1634 while the College of St. Thomas, founded on 26 April 1611, was upgraded to university status on 20 November 1645.


The history of St. Paul's was not free of problems. The program of elementary studies was successfully maintained up to the middle of the 18th century, due to the needs of the local population and of the Christian refugees from Japan and China at different times, and especially from the Heavenly Kingdom during the Tartar invasions. Moreover, success was enjoyed by the two seminaries: the Seminary of St. Ignatius for Japanese, founded by Francisco Pacheco in 1623, because of an endowment of 12,000 taels made by the Japanese cleric Paulo dos Santos for twelve young students from his country; and the Seminary of St. Joseph founded around 1732 for Chinese seminarians. But international problems greatly limited the number of students for higher studies in Theology and the Arts.
Even so, thanks to the diversity of its resident population comprising teachers, students and missionaries who were either resting, learning languages or in transit, the College of St. Paul was, throughout the first half of the seventeenth century, in the words of Caldeira Rego writing in 1623 "one of the largest and most learned communities of clergy in terms of buildings, and the number and quality of members" to be found in the Orient.
There is proof that this was the case at the height of its splendour, from 1597 to 1645. Sebastian Gonçalves wrote that in the college's early days there were "ordinarily fifty priests". Bernard-Maître provides more explicit data for the year 1601: fifty-nine Jesuits of whom twenty were priests and thirty-nine brothers undergoing studies or assistants. In the following year, after five priests and six brothers had left for Japan, there were still fifty-nine Jesuits in the College of the Mother of God. On 27 November 1623, Caldeira Rego stated that there were sometimes "sixty, seventy and even more members". Álvaro Semedo wrote in 1642 that there were "ordinarily sixty to eighty persons". Two years later Rego counted the members at sixty in his Relatione. The Batalhas da Companhia de Jesus written in 1650 does not include figures but, from the size of the teaching staff we can see that there had not been any reduction in the school's activities. By the eighteenth century this had changed and we find students who left Europe without having completed their studies staying on in Goa with other students recruited in the Orient who would ultimately be sent to the Far East. In effect, the account books of the procurators for Japan and China record demands for the payment of allowances to young men from the Far East who were studying in the College of St. Paul in Goa. Similarly, in the catalogues of the Oriental Provinces, there are the names of "Scholastici Goae degentes" who belonged to the provinces of Japan and China.
João Álvares, who was living in Macau in 1746, writes only of classes in Reading, Writing and Arithmetic, Latin (Grammar, Humanities and Rhetoric) and Music, the only subjects which could be recommended as necessary for an "indifferent" and "illiterate" civilian population as Bishop Hilary de Sousa complained bitterly on 29 December 1749.
Cultural life was, nevertheless, still thriving behind the walls of St. Paul's. A glimpse of the wealth of the archives can be gained from looking at the copies which were sent to Lisbon in the eighteenth century and are now stored in the National Library, the Overseas Historical Archives and, most importantly, in the "Jesuits in Asia" section of Ajuda Library. Other copies and some originals were sent to Manila in 1761 and from there to Spain where they now enrich the "Colección Jesuitas-Legajos" in the Academia Real de la Historia in Madrid and also the collections in the National Library and the National Archives in the same city. Further documents have been dispersed throughout other European centres. The college had a precious collection of paintings, atlases and maps. Jorge Álvares, writing in 1746, stated that the Library had four thousand books. The apothecary was famed throughout the Orient and provided the public in Macau and the missions in China, Japan and Tonking with an invaluable service until it was sold off to a merchant in 1762 who sold it in Goa at a fantastic profit.
For many years, the university had another cultural asset of enormous importance: the printing press which Valignano had shipped from Europe in 1588 which was destined ultimately for Japan. It was set up provisionally in Macau in 1588 and the territory's two first books were printed there. In 1590 it was set to work in Katsusa and later in Amakusa and Nagasaki. By 1616 it had to be sent back to Macau and in 1620 Rodrigues Tçuzzu's renowned work Arte da Lingoa Japoa was printed on it.
The history of the national and international standing of the College of St. Paul can only be understood as complete when we fully perceive the education provided not only for the social élite in Macau but also throughout the Far East. Furthermore, we must look at the mass of documentation which remains to be researched and the contribution made in training an élite group of missionaries for the various countries of Malaysia and Indochina, the Celestial Kingdom and Japan. Great contributions were also made to diplomatic relations with China and through scientific and missionary services provided by successive generations of missionaries, particularly by men such as ricci, José de Espinha, André Rodrigues and José Bernardo de Almeida in the court at Peking. Their services continued until they ran against the tide of directives sent from the Holy See. Directives which in the end turned out to be less than objective and appropriate than they had appeared. Directives which concerned the fateful issue of the Chinese Rites with the implications arising from the legations of Cardinal de Tournon and Ambrósio Mezzabarba.
On a more constructive note, missionaries provided assistance in the embassies of Manuel Saldanha (1667-1670), Metelo de Sousa e Meneses (1725-1728) and Francisco de Assis Pacheco de Sampaio (1752-1753). Even though these efforts were not always successful, they still managed to keep open the bridge between East and West which had been built as a result from missionary work and trading. St. Paul's would always be remembered as one of only a few academic institutions of its time, to have played as significant a role in compenetration in the World.
A drastic edict issued by Pombal in 1759 and applied to Macau in 1762 led to the expulsion of the Jesuits, closing the doors on the academic life of the College of the Mother of God and St. Paul. What was once an indomitable sentinel against the ravages of Time and Fortune is now reduced to a magnificent set of steps worthy of comparison with its most splendid counterparts in Rome, and the historic façade of the church, a solitary witness to a distant past. History, however, cannot turn its back on the glorious past of the first Western University in the Far East, nor its precious contribution in spreading Christian and Portuguese civilisation across the World.

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