Tuesday, December 4, 2007

St. Francis Xavier

(1506-52)

One of my favorite saints. Xavier was one of the first seven Jesuits who took vows. He met St. Ignatius Loyola at the University of Paris, and was won over after some initial opposition to his ideas. He was sent to the East Indies as one of the first Jesuit missionaries. He spent five months in Goa preaching, administering to the sick and imprisoned. One of the things he did there was to denounce the practice of concubinage, which was popular among western travelers. After many travels, and ministering to many people, he was finally on voyage to China where he longed to go. Before he reached his destination, he died alone except for a Chinese youth named Antony, on the island of Shangchwan. This island is within sight of the coast of China. He is considered the greatest, besides St. Paul, of all Christian missionaries. He worked extremely hard and converted hundreds of thousands of people. He was called "the Apostle of the Indies" and "the Apostle of Japan" before he was canonized.

A great book about this saint is Set All Afire by De Wohl. I own this book and have read it many times. The above information does not do justice to this great saint. His feast day is December 3.


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