Stepping stones to success

[Fr Nascimento Mascarenhas says: As I had misplaced the book Profiles of Eminent People of Saligao by C Hubert de Souza given to me by the author himself in 1973, his son Rev Fr Desmond de Souza CSsR offered me his own copy in 2008 when I was interned in the Clergy Home, Alto Porvorim, giving me permission to use the material from the book Floreat Saligao (May Saligao Flourish) from where this profile of Durante D'Souza is taken from.]

The life story of Durante F D’Souza reads almost like a fairy tale, of failures followed eventually by phenomenal success.

Durante D’Souza was born in 1881 and came from a well-known family of Nigvaddo de Arrarim, Saligao. He studied for some years at St. Xavier’s High School, Bombay. But, though not highly educated, he was gifted with a fluent tongue, a facile pen, a methodical mind, a love for music and an aptitude for sports. Equipped with these gifts, he set out to win the favour of Dame Fortune. For the greater part of his life, however, this fickle lady kept frowning upon him.

He first took up the teaching profession in Goa but soon gave it up as being unremunerative. He then left for East Africa, the then land of promise. The success he expected there, however, eluded him and within three years he returned home disillusioned. He now married and within a couple of years left for Bushire where he secured a promising job in the office of the British resident. After four years of service, however, personal circumstances compelled him to give up the job and return home.

His next venture was a business enterprise in Bombay. It proved a failure. Another business enterprise, this time in Deolali, met with the same fate. He took up the study of Indian medicine and for some years carried on in Bombay and Poona, a business for the manufacture and sale of herbo-mineral medicines, under the name of J and J de Chane. This too brought him no success.

By the year 1922, Durante D’Souza was almost a broken man, with a wife (Clarina D’Souza) and five children to support. He now settled in Hyderabad and there re-established his business of J and J de Chane. For the next 16 years, progress was slow. Then came the Second World War and Dame Fortune now turned a broad smile upon Durante D’Souza. His business prospered beyond his most sanguine expectations and by the time he retired and handed over the business to his son, Dr John, distributors and stockists of J and J de Chane were to be found all over India and Durante D’Souza was a very wealthy man indeed. He died in 1967. Under Dr John, the business made further spectacular progress and he one of the wealthiest sons of Saligao, although always remaining a very unassuming man.

The memory of Durante D’Souza is perpetuated in the extraordinary success of his children and grandchildren. His eldest son Santana Joseph D’Souza was the Parish Priest of the Archdiocese of Hyderabad. Two of his daughters, Mary Mascarenhas and Lourdes Fernandez are well known gynaecologists. The latter of these, with a string of Indian and foreign degrees to her credit, runs the largest and most efficient private Maternity Home in Andhra Pradesh.

His grandson, the elder son of Dr John, spurned the prospects of great wealth and joined the Salesians. A granddaughter, Anita Mascarenhas, crowned a brilliant career as a medical student in Bombay with an FRCS (Edinburgh) and an MRCOG (London). Her two brothers were medical practitioners in the US. The younger of these, Eugene, an MD from Bombay, is a cardiologist. Another grandson, Denis Mendonça, after emulating the success of his cousin Anita in Bombay is an FRCS (London). His brother Stephen joined the Jesuits and has completed his Ph.D in California.

This profile goes to show that the English proverb “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” is basically true, and should be an object lesson to our younger generation.

3 comments on Stepping stones to success

  • Fr. Cyril de Souza SDB

    I am quite surprised to come across this “post” of the Saligao Serenade. I am the Fr. Cyril de Souza SDB (Salesian) grand son of Dr. Durante de Souza, and son of Dr. John C. de Souza. At the moment I am a professor of Catechetics at the Salesian Pontifical University, Rome. While I am so happy to hear of my relatives (cousins) who have been mentioned in this post, I could give much more information of the many of my cousins who have distinguished themselves and at the moment are in various parts of the world. With every good wish, Fr. Cyril de Souza SDB, Rome

  • Fr. Nascimento Mascarenhas

    Dear Fr. Cyril de Souza, SDB.

    Thank you very much for your lovely comments I would be extremely glad if you could send me the information of your relatives with their bio-datas. . Please do not forget to post me your e-mail address.
    Just some information on our Saligaokars in Rome. There is Sister Lorraine Marie Delaney( de Sousa). She was till last year the Superior General of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Chammery in Rome. Now I heard that she is been absorbed by some Vatican Department. I do not know which one. If you meet her please give my regards. She is a great soul and asset. She will be happy to meet you as both of you are from Arrarim, Saligao.
    Last year another Saligaokar was in Propaganda Fide. He has finished his studies there and returned. Now he is professor at Rachol Seminary. He is Fr. George Dias from Mudd’davaddi. I know that all Goans priests,nuns , laypeople gather in Rome to celebrate the feast of St. Francis Xavier on 3rd December every year. One of the arms of St. Francis Xavier you can see in the Jesu Church , Vatican, of the jesuit Order.
    There are also goan diocesan priests and Pilar fathers and may be even in your order in Rome So you may be meeting sometimes
    Like me some go to Rome to roam. Keep well. My prayers are with yoy. I will meet the new salesian Superior D’Cruz at Fatorda, Margao, as I am based “On the Staff” without any stuff at Holy Spirit Church Margao. Please keep in touch. fr. nascimento mascarenhas

  • Fr. Cyril de Souza SDB

    Dear Fr. Mascarenhas,
    Thanks very much for your kind reply to my comment.
    First my e-mail address: [ ]
    Information of my relatives …. I will try later. At the moment we are in our exam period … and I am short of time.
    Goans in Rome: oh yes! We meet about four times a year and I know Sr. Lorraiine and Fr. George Dias.
    Please do continue to keep in touch.
    Fr. Cyril.

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