Criminali, Antonio, ven.
CRIMINALI, ANTONIO, VEN.
Protomartyr of the Society of Jesus; b. Sissa (Parma, Italy), Feb. 7, 1520; d. Vêdâlai (South India), May or June, 1549. A meeting with J. Laínez and Peter Faber in Parma (1539–40) inspired him to join the Jesuits in Rome, where he pronounced his first vows April 9, 1542. ignatius loyola sent him to Coimbra for further study. An abortive effort to reach India was followed by a successful voyage to Goa in 1545. As a missionary along the Fishery Coast, Criminali was confirmed as superior of the mission by St. francis xavier. He was an indefatigable apostle, learning Tamil and organizing the catechists in the villages. Xavier called him "a saintly man, born to be a missionary for these countries." During an attack by the Vadagar, while he was trying to save Christian children and women in Vêdâlai (Ramnâd, Madras), he was killed, probably by a Muslim.
Bibliography: l. valmerana, Vita del B. Antonio Criminale, ed. g. schurhammer, Archivum Historicum Societatis Jesu 5 (1936) 235–267. j. castets, The Venerable Anthony Criminali (Trichinopoly 1926). r. streit and j. dindinger, Bibliotheca missionum 4:127–128.