Father José González Raposo

by Delfina de Araujo


F ather José González Raposo, born in l905, March, l9 and died in November l999.
Claretian Missionary, born in Spain, he had lived in Brazil for more than 60 years. Here, he developed his pastoral activities. Besides writing books about catechesis, accomplishing the mission chosen by himself, he has been very active in writing articles about orchids to be published in many Brazilian magazines (edited by Caob, by OrquidaRio, by the Sociedade Brasileira de Orquidófilos, by the Círculo Rioclarense de Orquidófilos and by the Sociedade Campineira de Orquídeas - nowadays not edited any more -) and foreigner ones (Orchids, Schlechteriana and Intermezzo).

In his journeys into the nature nurseries, as he loved to say, he found new species and described them such as Encyclia reflexa González, Cattleya X extricata González, Encyclia perazolliana González

Encyclia meneziana Gonzalez

For many years, he rendered an inestimable service to national orchidophilia and in his legacy, he gave to us the "Dicionário etimológico das orquídeas do Brasil" (1999), "Questões Práticas de nomenclatura de Orquidáceas" (1993) and "A etimologia a serviço dos orquidófilos" (sold out).
He has planed to publish his chronicles of the orchidaceous journeys he did through Brazil, during more than 25 years, in three illustrated volumes, called "Pelos Orquidários da Natureza".

He was an honorary member of the Círculo Rioclarense de Orquidófilos and of the Society Lombarda Amatori Orchidee, in Italy. His death in November, last year, left a gap hard to be filled. Owner of a great culture, with deep expertise in Latin, Greek and Latin languages, his books have always been an important contribution for who wanted to go ahead in orchid studies.
With pleasure and happiness he collaborated with many researches who looked for him such Guido Pabst and Lou Menezes.

This generosity and modesty were unique as it is clearly showed in a small text called "A etimologia das orquídeas" ("The etymology of the Orchids"), written when he was 92 years old and published in Caob magazine number 27: "To find out the correct name of an unknown species, a determinate basis of Latin and Greek languages is presumed, besides the knowledge more or less elementary of orchidology. The knowledge of those two languages is very important to the orchidologists, mainly Latin which extinction in the regular courses was really regrettable. Many orchidologists complain about it because we should use Classical Latin to describe plants and to name genera and species. This is why, often, they should ask the experts in those languages to solve nomenclatures problems. Although we recognize our limitations in the knowledge of those languages, we are ready to answer and to serve all people that need our humble collaboration, as it has been since not few years ago."

I feel deeply affected with the dedication he did to me when he sent a copy of his "Dicionário Etimológico dos Gêneros e Espécies das Orquídeas do Brasil" ("Etymological Dictionary of genera and species of Brazilian orchids") to be announced in our site.
In this text, in spite of being far on his years (he was 94 years old when he died), we can see how connected with the new technologies he was.
His text let us also see his poetic essence when he talked about Internet and missionary vocation.
" ... With satisfaction we offer a copy of this Dictionary... just recently published, in order to run and to flight throughout the Internet, glorifying God and inviting to the cultivation of the most beautiful flowers He has created for us... " (Rio Claro, 23.6.99).
We wait, anxiously, for the publication of the 3 volumes of "Pelos Orquidários da Natureza ( Through the Nature Nurseries)", chronicles of the journeys into Brazil, during 25 years.

Lou Menezes, forest engineer, ecologist and botanist working at IBAMA (Official Institute for Environment), has had a close relationship with Father José González.
We transcript below the presentation she did in the "Dicionário etimológico das Orquídeas do Brasil", published by Ave Maria Editors:
"For many and many years, Father José González has been offering a valuable and inestimable contribution to the study of Brazilian orchids, affording orchidists and orchidologists the possibility of joining the passion for those plants and the botanical science. In this book with beautiful illustrations, through a deep and impeccable erudition, the author offers us his ample knowledge about linguistic straight associated to the origin and identity of the genera, species and varieties of orchids. This book fills up a gap in the technique and scientific area of those fascinate and charmed organisms. By his high spirit of humanity, by his devotion as a nature lover, by his studies and publication, Father José González has also got an international reputation and he is, nowadays, by his merits considered as the holly angel of Brazilian orchidofilia".

In the preface of the same edition, Father González says:
"Our wish was to present a complete work in this "Dicionário Etimológico dos Gêneros e Espécies das Orquídeas do Brasil". However, for this, we should make many journeys to consult specialized libraries and for lack of time, for my age and recently by health conditions, this wish could not be achieved. In order not to provoke delays in the publication of the dictionary, we should have to be acquiesced with a more modest (or simplified) work leaving aside some aspects not so necessary such as the indication of subfamilies, tribus and subtribus, omitting the Habenaria species (as indicated in the appropriated places) and, specially, the illustrations, except for some, just to avoid monotony. Nevertheless, in order to allow the reader having an idea of the exuberance of the colors of the species here broached, we present a folder of color photos. With this simplification, the Dictionary will become easier to a quick consultation. In spite of the deficiency, our Dictionary presents a very special note with the etymology of Brazilian species, lacking in other works about the same subject. Our critical style intends to do a constructive critique observing what is wrong with the names given to genera and species and pointing out what would be the correct name. Our readers will see that all generic and specific names of orchids which get accent when they formed for more than two syllable, this accent shows the emphasized syllable of the name which provokes so many difficulties of pronunciation between the orchidists. We wish that orchidologists and nature lovers find in this Dictionary, an easy instrument to deal with in order to know how we write and pronounce so many difficult names, how they have been formed and their meaning.
Glory to God, Author of this wonderful world of orchids."m

From Acacallis to Zygostates, Father González introduced us to the etymology of Brazil genera and species. Transcription of an example (with indication of accentuation) Catasétum L. C. Richard. Hybrid name: gr. Katá, prep. which indicates direction from top to the bottom, and lat. Seta, bristle pig, wild pig, etc. In Botany, we use this word to signify rough hair in the flower involucres of graminaceous plants. The name is related to two antennas (or appendix) characteristic of male flowers, which pull the bottom part of the column and works as a true trigger. Hardly touched by the insect, instantaneously, the shooting of the anther happens and strongly glues on the back of visitor, unconsciously agent of the pollination. Catasétum genus has more than a hundred species, most of them are epiphyte and its habitat is extend from Mexico to Argentina. However the center of irradiation is in Brazil, were thrive the follow species; albo-virens Barb. Rodr.: adj. Artif. Lat. De albus, white + virens, part. Pres. from v. víreo, green. The name express the green-albish color of the flowers (from Amaz.) . appendiculátum ... since . of warscewízius latiniz. from Warcewicz, name. De Joseph W.C. de W.

Transcription of the last cover of "Dicionário Etimológico dos Gêneros e Espécies das Orquídeas do Brasil" - A etimologia a serviço DOS orquidófilos is a work which joins the erudition of an expert and the sensibility of a nature lover. In the entries, accessible to botanists or to the public in general, the author shows his great linguistic and cultural knowledge, reinvestigating in the mythology, in history, in literature and in natural sciences, the origin and the mean of the Brazilian orchids. He explains the etymology, he guides to the correct pronunciation and shows the correct spelling of every scientific name. This is an essential work for those who study, cultivate and love the orchids. The book has beautiful illustrations which make the reading more pleasant. We should point out that, in spite of the scientific rigor, the author shows here his religious feelings of deep respect and admiration for the divine creation. Ave-Maria Editors has also published by the same author "A etimologia a serviço DOS Orquidófilo" (The etymology to serve the orchidists"), invites the readers to this new journey into the world of the flowers.

The Dictionary has been put in circulation during the Rio Claro Orchid Show (São Paulo), in 1999. The Caob Magazine (number 36) has announced the fact in the topic "Conversando com o Leitor" , written by his editor Oscar Sachs:
"During the orchid show in Rio Claro, SP, directed by the dynamic Dr. Humberto Antonio Epiphânio, we had the issue and the autograph evening of the "Dicionário Etimológico das Orquídeas do Brasil", by Father José González Raposo C.M.F. All of us, in Brazilian orchidophilia, know Father González and his untiring labor, always attentive and disposed to help whom needs his deep knowledge about Latin, Greek and Neo-Latin languages. All of us know the help he has been rendering to our botanists, to do Latin diagnosis, which is essential for any scientific description of plants or new variety. This cooperation with Brazilian orchidologists is dated from Guido Pabst. In "Orchidaceae Brasilienses", one of our basic books, many propositions from Father González have been accepted and incorporated in this work. This book, now published, will be, for sure, a mark in Brazilian orchidologist studies because it is the result of years of researches, reflection, comparatives analysis, same times even a detective investigation to find out possible intention of the scientist when he gives a name a little and unprotected little plant. The "Dicionário etimológico DAs orquídeas do Brasil" presents a wide list of genera and species of our orchids, explaining or discussing their etymology, or to put it in other words, the meaning and the raison of their name. Those words are, in general, Latin or Greek. When the botanist wanted to pay homage to someone, the Dictionary presents the name in its form latinized and its genitive. Often, there is a reference about what the person has done or his merits, giving in this way, a meaning to the homage paid for us amateurs. Another merit of Father González's book is to indicate the tonic syllable of all names, which helps extraordinarily those companions orchidologists, botanist students and others researches who look for the correct pronunciation of the scientific names. After the edition of the Dictionary, we can say that between us, orchidists or orchidologists, just do a mistake if wanted. Caob and Caob magazine want, by this little review, pay homage to this extraordinary priest and intellectual person, who, besides his job as soul shepherd, found time and disposition to contribute by this dense and important form to orchidophilia in Brazil. God reward you, our dearest Father González".
The Editor.

Cyrtopodium gonzalesii


Ave Maria Editors (by the President Father Nestor Zatt), Boletim Caob (by the editor, Oscar Sachs Jr, Editora Três (by the editor: Paulo Roberto Houch) and Lou Menezes have authorized all transcriptions. Dr. Luiz de Araújo Pereira and Father Elias Leite have written specially for Orchid News.

Species paying homage to Father González in their name: Sarcoglottis gonzalezii L.C. Menezes. According to the author of the description, the name of this species has been done in his homage due to his valuable contribution in her studies about the flora of Brazilian Orchids. Encyclia gonzalezii L. C. Menezes, Cyrtopodium gonzalezii L.C. Menezes.