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Saint Francis Xavier

He was of noble descent, and was born at the Castle of Xavier in Navarre, Spain in 1506.

Aged 18, he began studying Philosophy in Paris.

About four years later Saint Ignatius Loyola joined the same college to which Francis belonged, and had such a great influence on him that he became a changed man, and one of the first disciples of the Saint.

After visiting Rome he was ordained a priest at Venice in 1537 and the first Jesuits made their vows before the Pope's Nuncio.

Soon after he was sent to Portugal, and in 1541 went to India, landing at Goa. His apostolic labours extended to the coast of Malabar, Malacca, the Moluccas and Ceylon.

In 1549 he became the first missionary to Japan, and developed flourishing Christian Communities there, returning to India in 1551.

He then decided, in 1552, to preach the Good News in China, and setting out from Malacca he arrived in Sancian.

On November 20, a severe fever wracked his body, and he died on December 2, 1552, aged only 46 years.

He was canonised in 1602 by Pope Clement VIII.

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