A Jesuit Author of International Repute: Fr Hedwig Lewis, SJ

A Jesuit Author of International
Repute: Fr Hedwig Lewis, SJ
Fr. Varghese Paul, SJ
In recent years he is not seen in public and yet
he is an internationally
known author. He remains
confined to his room or to the house library
and yet he is a much sought after spiritual
counsellor. He is hardly seen in conversation wi
th his friends and yet he is communicating with
the whole world through his own website (h
ttp://joygift.tripod.com) and the internet.
He is not proud of his achievements and yet
I am proud of my novice companion. He is Fr
Hedwig Lewis, SJ of Gujarat Province of the Soci
ety of Jesus. We did our noviciate and Gujarati
language studies together at Moun
t Abu, Rajasthan for three years.
Fr Hedwig Lewis was born in Mumbai on Octo
ber 19, 1945 to devout parents Mr Placid Lewis
& Mrs Mary Lewis of Goan origin. Being in touc
h with Gujarat Jesuits he entered the Jesuit
noviciate at Mount Abu in
1964 just after his matriculation in Mumbai.
During his Jesuit formation and priestly studies Fr
Lewis did his MA with E
nglish literature from
the MS University, Vadodara. He was ordained a
priest in 1977 and then joined St Xavier’s
College at Ahmedabad as
lecturer in English.
Being a resourceful person with many talents
and qualities Fr Lewis initiated several extra
curricular activities and persona
lity development programmes
for the college students like
Saturday cultural activities, value educa
tion, counselling, etc. He has also conducted
programmes for managers in
the corporate world.
He became the Vice-Principal of the College in
1984. Then he took a sabbatical break in 1985-
87 to do his second MA in Human Resource Deve
lopment from the Amer
ican International
College in Springfield, Mass., USA. He also served
as Assistant Pastor in two parishes, as well
as taughty in a Catholic college
there. On his return Fr Lewi
s was appointed Rector of the
College Jesuit community in 1988 and the
n, Principal of the College in 1991.
In recognition of his educational innovations
the All India Associati
on for Christian Higher
Education (AIACHE) honoured
Fr Lewis with the Rev T. A. Mathias Award. The Award
citation reads: “This prestigious
national award is a mark of
AIACHE’S recognition of his
devotion to academic excellence, introduction
of educational innovations, concern for the
integrated development of students and commitme
nt to high standards of
professional ethics.”
Fr Lewis was successful in imparting the Jesuit
Charism to the college staff and students alike
especially through his booklet
“The Xavier Character” which
was later integrated in the
prospectus of the College. He has also served the
College as Director of the Xavier Institute of
Languages and also as the Director of the Xa
vier Centre for Human
Resource Development.
In June 1995 Fr Lewis under went open hear
t surgery and later in October suffered a
neurological disorder which forced him to leav
e his teaching carrier. The incapacitating sickness
could not defeat the spirit of ad majorem dei
gloriam in Fr Lewis and he launched into a new
career of writing.
While studying theology at Vidya Jyoti, New
Delhi Fr Lewis edited “Ave” and now he edits
“Navajuni” a quarterly publication of the Jesuit Parivar (family) in Gujarat.
Fr Lewis is well-known in the Engl
ish and Spanish speaking world as
a popular author especially
in spirituality and counselling. His first book “At
Home With God” (1991) has run into several
editions including nine editions in Spanish. Hi
s books “Fun With Words” and “How to Study”
are popular especially among school and university
students. He has 19 books to his credit and
many of them fetched good reviews in ma
ny Church newspapers and periodicals.