Fr. Constant Lievens

Servant of God Father Constant Lievens

Servant of God Father Constant Lievens is known as th apostle and founder of the Church in Chotanagpur. He was born at Moorslede in the diocese of Bruges (Belgium) on April 10, 1856. He joined the Society of Jesus at Drongen on October 21, 1878. On October 22, 1880 he made his religious profession and set out for India, where he arrived in Calcutta on December 2nd 1880.
He was ordained a priest at Calcutta on January 14, 1883. Later he was sent to Ranchi in Chotanagpur where he arrived in 1885. Father Lievens founded his first mission station at Torpa in November 1885. He led a very austere and ascetic life. Aware of the vicious exploitation of tribals by Jagirdars, Zamindars, Thikedars and money lenders, he studied the customary laws of the tribals and the laws of the British Government. With the help of reliable people, he defended the tribals in the courts. This led to an ever-increasing flow of people towards the church.
He worked himself to death, instructing, building schools and chapels, preparing court cases etc. On August 27, 1888 he was appointed Director of the Missions and shifted to Manresa House, Ranchi from where he organized and supervised the mission work. He ruined his health by his unflagging zeal and ceaseless labors. He contracted tuberculosis and on August 26, 1892 he left Ranchi for Belgium in the hope of recovering and returning to his dear mission. But that was not to be. He died at Louvain on November 7th 1893. On his arrival at Ranchi there were only 56 Catholics in the area where he was destined to work. By the time he left, about seven and a half years later, there were well over 70,000. “The Miracle of the Church of Chotanagpur” had begun. With the consent of the Government of India, his mortal remains were brought back to ‘his people’ on 1st November 1993 and after an extensive tour throughout his old mission field, re-entered in the Ranchi Cathedral on 7th November 1993.
The people of Chotanagpur believe him to be their “Apostle and Father in Faith.”