Fr. Conrad Mascarenhas passed away to his eternal reward on 17 February 2022. He was 84 years old and had been a Jesuit for 63 years. He was ordained a priest in 1974.
An alumnus of the Microbiology Department of St. Xavier’s, Fr. Conrad began with teaching for two years in the Junior College at St. Stanislaus, Bandra. He then moved to St. Xavier’s College and began teaching Botany, before moving to the newly formed Department of Life Sciences.
He was later appointed the Director of the Caius Research Laboratory from 1999 to 2005. He was part of the UNDP program on natural dyes in the Caius lab during that time. He was instrumental in getting the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBSC) constituted in St. Xavier’s College. IBSC is the nodal point for interaction within an organisation for implementation of the biosafety regulatory framework and is to be constituted by every organisation engaged in research under the aegis of DBT.
Fr. Conrad was was enthusiastic and motivated students and faculty to carry out research. He used to organise and conduct many honours programs for students and workshops for faculty to foster a research culture in the college. Students and faculty always found him warm, affectionate and approachable.
A noted trait of Fr. Conrad was his humour. He saw the funny side of the most mundane things and could also laugh at himself. He was fond of the outdoors and especially enjoyed long walks and treks in the hills of Khandala. Even at the age of 80, Fr. Conrad could be found leading treks on a strenuous route, with others much younger falling behind.
Committed to preserving the ecology of the earth, Fr. Conrad was a passionate supporter and inspirer of care for nature. His love of nature also impelled him to alternate medicine, especially naturopathy and homeopathy. He practiced these for himself, and offered them to others.
St. Xavier’s College and the Bombay Province of the Society of Jesus will miss Fr. Conrad’s inspiration to excellence in science and care for the earth. May his soul rest in peace.