St. Francis Xavier
Francis Xavier was born in Navarre in the Castle of Xavier on April 7, 1506. While studying in Paris, Francis became acquainted with St. Ignatius Loyola and decided to join the religious order Ignatius was planning. In 1534, Ignatius, Francis, and five other men who would become the first members of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) made a vow at Montmartre. Francis and Ignatius were ordained in 1537. At the request of the King of Portugal, Francis set out to evangelize the East Indies. He arrived in Goa, India in May 1542 and began working with the sick and catechizing the children, but the bad example of Portuguese soldiers hindered his work among the native people. He then traveled to Malaysia and to the Molucca Islands, preaching in the islands for eighteen months. Francis was inspired to go to Japan after meeting a Japanese man who wanted to convert to Christianity. He did so after settling some matters in Goa, where other Jesuit missionaries were now working, including some natives who had been accepted into the Society. Over the course of two and half years in Japan, Francis made several converts. He returned to Goa and in April 1552, set out for China, but he became ill after arriving at the island of Sancian off the Chinese coast and died on December 2, 1552. Francis Xavier was canonized in 1622, along with his friend and spiritual father, Ignatius of Loyola. St. Francis Xavier is co-patron of the missions. His feast is December 3.