Saint Francis Xavier
Franz Xaver was born on 07 Apr 1506 in Castillo de Javier near Sangüesa in Spain. He died on 03 December 1552 on the island Shangchuan Dao near Kanton in China.
His life in Europe was marked by the Reformation, which started with Martin Luther. After the church had to face much criticism, it reacted with the Council of Trento. This triggered an inner renewal of the church. The newly founded Jesuit Order supported this inner reform movement.
Franz Xaver and Peter Faber were among the first to join Ignatius of Loyola in 1533. They later were among the founders of the Jesuit Order.
In 1537 Francis was ordained priest in Venice. Pope Paul III asked in the same year for missionaries for the possessions in East India. Francis Xavier then set off for India in 1541, after being appointed Apostolic Nuritus of Asia.
Altar of Saint Francis Xavier in Il Gesù (Rome)
Saint Francis Xavier and Saint Francis Borgia in Sant’Ignazio di Loyola (Rome)
He landed in Goa in 1542, where he worked successfully for 3 years. Since many Indians could not abandon their ancient rituals in the long run, he requested in 1545 the King of Portugal to send the Inquisition to India.
In 1547 a Japanese convinced him to spread the Christian faith in his homeland. In 1549 he reached Japan. There he spent three years with missionary work. Among other things, he founded the first Christian community there.
His next goal was to continue his missionary work in the empire of China. Foreigners, however, were denied entry. So he died at the age of 46 on the island Shangchuan Dao off the Chinese mainland.
He was beatified on 25 October 1619 and sainted on 15 March 1622. His festive day is December 03.
Francis Xavier is the patron saint of India, patron of all missionaries and missions. He is called to the safeguard against storm and plague. His assistance is also implored for a good hour of death.