The East Indian Community

Original Inhabitants of Bombay, Salsette & Thana.


Housing and Holiness

By C. C. M.Mendes


Dr. Porter, the first Arch bishop of Bombay wrote a book on “health and Holiness”. The following and specially the correspondence with Cardinal Gasparri, will show some connection between housing and holiness. Prominence may be given to the sub-joined letter to and reply from the Cardinal so that the question may attract serious consideration:-


To His Eminence Pietro Cardinal Gasparri, Secretary of State to His Holiness Pope Benedict XV ???.


Enclosed herewith I beg leave to send a cutting of a letter appearing in the “Bombay Chronicle” of the 28th August 1919 and venture to express the hope that the Holy See will be graciously pleased to commend the suggestion of the ecclesiastical authorities concerned. It is extremely desirable that in a City like Bombay, the Catholic population should be provided with suitable houses of quarters to live in and our priests should be alive to the dangers of the Catholics thrown upon the wide world and seeking habitations in places calculated to demoralize them and their sad lives becoming a reproach to our religion.

                                                                                    C. C. M. Mendes

                                                                                    Bhyander, 13th Nov. 1919


No. 58.

Dal Vaticano, December 28, 1919.


Dear Sir,


Your letter dated 13th November 1919, with enclosed a cutting from the “Bombay Chronicle” of the 28th August 1919, has been duly received and carefully considered.


It is highly commendable the interest you take for the housing of the Catholics in Bombay, I feel confident that the Ecclesiastical Authorities of Bombay, while doing their utmost for the spiritual welfare of the Catholic people entrusted to their care, are not neglecting to co-operate, in the best way they can, also to their material welfare which, certainly does help living a good moral life.


With every good wish.


                                                                                    Yours Sincerely,

                                                                                    P. Card. Gasparri


“Does help living a good moral life” is the point I wish to stress and this leads to my further observations, which were substantially contained in the cutting from the Cardinal saw.


It has been proposed that Government, the Port Trust, the Municipality and other large employers of labour should provide housing accommodation for their employers. The provision of this accommodation will be a communal good of much importance. It is gratifying to note that the wealthy and the patriotic members of all communities are vying with one another in providing their less fortunate brethren with the great boon of house accommodation, and co-operative societies are working with zeal to meet the needs of the public in this regard. We have one amongst us.


The Goan leaders are not unmindful of their people’s needs. The Manglorean leaders are also alive to their people’s wants. The East Indians are the natives of the soil and have the greatest stake in the lands of their birth. I appeal to our leaders to use their wealth and talent for the good of their brethren, firstly in starting co-operative concerns and then individually is erecting suitable chawls, houses or cottages in Bombay, Mahim or Bandra for the accommodation of their people.


A considerable amount of property was bequeathed to the churches for purposes of masses, etc. It is well-known that the Churches of Nossa Senhor da Esperanca, Bhuleshwar or Nossa Senhore Do Salvacao, Dadar and St. Michael’s, Mahim have thus been greatly enriched. NO one can deny that the wealth or properties possessed by these churches are bequests left by the East Indian Catholics. The Churches still possess much property and money and I think I shall not be deemed out of place, if I suggest that the authorities of the churches should provide suitable dwellings for their parishioners who are native inhabitants of their parishes. They can easily do so as they possess ample lands which are now serving no useful purpose and the erection of houses, which will be a great boon to the Catholic parishioners, will entail no loss to the revenues of the churches.


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