Gnecchi Soldo, Organtino

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Jesuit missionary; b. Casto (Brescia, Italy), 1532; d. Nagasaki, April 22, 1609. He entered the Society of Jesus at Ferrara in 1555, was ordained in 1561, and became rector of the College of Loreto in 156566. Assigned to Goa, he arrived there in 1567. He was assigned to Macao in 1568 and Japan in 1570; there he remained until his death. He settled in Miyako (Kyoto), the capital at that time, where he was local Jesuit and remained superior, even during the anti-Catholic persecution. He was distinguished for his administrative skill, prudence, zeal, and care of Christians. He gained the confidence of the local rulers and was able to build a beautiful church, dedicated by him Aug. 15, 1576, to the Assumption (this was the day in 1549 when Francis Xavier landed in Japan). In 1582 at Azuchi he opened a seminary for the education of native clergy. He was a decided friend of adaptation and integration of native practices with Christian teaching. A number of his letters are extant.

Bibliography: r. streit and j. dindinger, Bibliotheca missionum (Freiburg 1916) 4:405, 564; 5:1030. j. f. schÜtte, Valignanos Missionsgrundsätze für Japan, (v.1.11.2; Rome 195158), best study. c. sommervogel, Bibliotèque de la Compagnie de Jésus, 11 v. (Brussels-Paris 18901932) 5:193234.

[j. wick]