Father Constant Lievens, SJ
The Apostle of Chota Nagpur



Belgian cancel for Father Constant Lievens, SJ Statue of Father Constant Lievens, SJ
BELGIUM, 1993, special cancel for the centenary of his death,
the cancel picturing an equestrian statue of Lievens holding a cross
erected in his honor in Torpa, India and Moorslede, Belgium

Constant Lievens, of a large rural Flemish family, after studies in Roeselare and Brutes, was moved to enter the Society of Jesus in 1878 by a desire to serve on the foreign missions. He was sent to India after his novitiate, finished his training there and was ordained in Calcutta in 1883. He went to Central India, to the Chota Nagpur Plateau where missionary work was just beginning, in 1885 and centered his activity first around Torpa and later at Ranchi. He saw the oppression of the people and their need for legal help was their most pressing needs, and chose to address that as a preparation for the preaching of the Gospel. He made himself an expert in tribal customary law and persuaded English magistrates to consider that as they decided the cases he pleaded for the people. He came to be regarded as a savior and defender and by his work drew tens of thousands to the faith. Finally, forced by ill health to return to his native soil, he died in Leuven in 1893. The cause for his beatification has been begun. His ashes were transferred to Ranchi and are kept in the Catholic cathedral. A statue of Lievens on horseback was erected in Torpa, and an identical statue in Moorslede, his birth place, which the above special cancel tries to capture. More