Saint Francis Xavier (1506 - 1552)
“The dangers to which I am exposed and the tasks I undertake for God are springs of spiritual joy, so much so that these islands are the places in all the world for a man to lose his sight by excess of weeping; but they are tears of joy.” — St. Francis Xavier
• Born 1506, in Navarre, Spain.
• Educated at the Univ. of Paris in the 1530s, where he met Ignatius of Loyola.
• In 1541, was appointed apostolic nuncio (an ambassador of the Church) to Asia, and left for Portuguese Goa. The voyage took 15 months.
• In his parting letter to Ignatius, he wrote: “For what is left of this life, I am well assured, it will be by letter only that we shall be together – in the other we shall embrace face to face.”
• Through his preaching he won many conversions, almost all among poor, tribal, and lower-caste peoples.
• In his travels, he tended to the needs of the sick and infirm, revitalized the liturgical and sacramental life of already existing Christian populations, and drew people to faith in Jesus Christ.
• In 1546, he explored other islands in southern Asia. Then, in 1549, he moved on to Japan, where he made a hundred converts in a year at Kagoshima. By the time he left three years later, there were 2,000 Japanese Christians.
• In 1552, Francis left for mission work in China. He became ill on the way, and died almost alone on the island of Shang-chwan, six miles off the coast of mainland China.
• His death was on December 3, 1552 at the age of forty-six.
• Francis Xavier remains one of the greatest missionaries in the history of the Church.
• He was canonized in 1622, along with Ignatius of Loyola, Teresa of Avila, and Philip Neri.
• In 1927 he was declared the patron saint of foreign missions.
We pray: Make me your faithful follower, Lord Jesus, as was Saint Francis Xavier. May others hear and see you through me. I pray through Christ our Lord, Amen.