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Joseph Vaz 5 things you should know about Sri Lanka's first saint

Catholic tradition says Joseph Vaz miraculously brought rain to the independent kingdom of Kandy, in central and eastern Sri Lanka, during a major drought

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Saint Joseph Vaz of Sri Lanka play

Saint Joseph Vaz of Sri Lanka

(Vatican radio)
  1. Joseph Vaz was born in the Portuguese colony of Goa in 1651, arrived in Sri Lanka in 1687 in the 17th century.

  2. He was jailed multiple times by Dutch authorities for helping Catholics and dressed up as a laborer or beggar so he wouldn’t be arrested by the Calvinist colonial rulers.

  3. Catholic tradition says Vaz miraculously brought rain to the independent kingdom of Kandy, in central and eastern Sri Lanka, during a major drought. As a result, Kandy’s king gave Vaz protection and allowed him to work there openly.

  4. He spent 23 years ministering to the Catholic community in Sri Lanka, producing prayer books in Sinhalese and Tamil languages.

  5. Vaz died in 1711 in Kandy and upon his demise had earned himself the title 'Apostle of Sri Lanka'.

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