Jesuit Missionary (1506-1552)
+ Francis was born in Spain in 1506. As a student in Paris, where he was studying philosophy, he became acquainted with Saint Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits).
+ Inspired by his friend, Ignatius, Francis became one of the first members of the Society of Jesus. Ordained a priest in 1537, he was among the first to make vows as a Jesuit and, in 1541, he set sail for India.
+ Francis’ efforts to proclaim the Gospel took him to India, Malaysia, Indonesia’s Sulawesi Islands, the Maluku Islands, and Sri Lanka. In each place he converted large numbers to Christianity.
+ In 1549, Francis traveled to Japan, where he established a flourishing Christian community. After two years, he returned to India. In 1552, he decided to travel to China. On November 20, he was taken ill with fever. Left alone and abandoned by the ship’s crew, he died on the shore of Sancian on December 2, 1552.
+ Saint Francis Xavier was canonized with Saint Ignatius Loyola in 1602. Along with Saint Théreèse of Lisieux, he is honored as the patron saint of missionaries.
Today marks the beginning of the Season of Advent and a new Church Year. Just like with the secular “New Year,” today is a wonderful time to think about your spiritual life and reflect on what kind of Christian you want to be.
“Many, many people hereabouts are not becoming Christians for one reason only: there is nobody to make them Christians.”—Saint Francis Xavier
O God, who through the preaching of Saint Francis Xavier
won many peoples to yourself,
grant that the hearts of the faithful
may burn with the same zeal for the faith
and that Holy Church may everywhere rejoice
in an abundance of offspring.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.