The Jesuit mission to the north of India goes back to 1580. In the year 1579, Emperor Akbar invited Jesuits from Goa to visit his court, mainly to get Catholic debaters for an interfaith forum held regularly in Akbar’s palace at Fatehpur Sikri. The first Jesuits, arrived at the Mughal court in 1580, and the Mughal mission, which lasted with two interruptions till 1773, was in the initial stages directed by two accomplished missionaries in the Jesuit’s first century, Rudolfo Aquaviva (1550-83) and Fr. Jerome Xavier (1549-1617), the grandnephew of St. Francis Xavier.
Approximately a century and a half after their arrival at Fatehpur Sikri, the Jesuits made inroads to Rajasthan. They first came to Jaipur in 1729 at the invitation of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II in order to help him set up an astronomical observatory known as Jantar Mantar at his then new capital of Jaipur.
The Jesuits came back to Jaipur in 1941, the 400th anniversary year of St. Francis Xavier’s arrival to India, at the invitation of the Ajmer Bishop and Mirza Ismail, the then prime minister of Jaipur. The bishop offered them St. Mary’s School at Ghat Gate, which was started in 1941 by Fr. Ignatius OFM, Cap. under the patronage of the Bishop of Ajmer. Later, in 1945, the school was shifted to its present site renaming it as St. Xavier’s School. Ever since, the school has educated thousands of students who are holding key positions in every walk of life not only in Rajasthan but all over India and even abroad.
The Jaipur Xavier Educational Association (JXEA) was established in 1950, as a trust managed by the Jesuits. In 2006 the Xavier Vocational Institute (XVI) was started in Jaipur to give vocational training to the economically poorer sections of society. In 2010 the JXEA. in collaboration with the Xavier Alumnae and the well wishers of Jaipur, launched the Higher Education Program by starting the St. Xavier’s College, Jaipur, affiliated to the University of Rajasthan. It is established and maintained by the members of the Delhi Province of the Society of Jesus.
St. Xavier’s College, a Jesuit institution of higher learning which draws its inspiration from Jesus Christ, envisions the formation of the whole person. It seeks to form young men and women who are committed to the establishment of a just and caring social order. It believes that by promoting the intellectual, emotional and moral and growth of the student it shall form men and women committed to and confident of promoting a humane world.