Sunday, December 3, 2006

Feast of Saint Francis Xavier: India’s greatest and most revered Saint and Patron of the Missions

Today, I am taking a Day's Break from Blogging about Sacred Choral Music and instead I wil be blogging on one of the greatest Saints that the Catholic Church has produced -- Saint Francis Xavier, an intrepid Jesuit Missionary to Asia.

Today is a Glorious Day for all Asian Catholics.

I say this because, today is the Feast of Saint Francis Xavier Patron of the Missions and Missionary par excellence who evangelized parts of Asia in the 16th Century.

Check out these awesome Links to learn more about Saint Frnacis Xavier.

1) "Francis Xavier: The greatest and most revered Saint"


December 3,2006

"Francis Xavier: The greatest and most revered Saint"

Goa (ICNS) -- December 3 is the feast of Saint Francis Xavier, one of the greatest missionaries of the Catholic Church. These days, thousands of pilgrims are venerating the relics of St Xavier at the Se Cathedral in Old Goa.

Indian Catholic pays tribute to St Xavier by presenting the life and times of the saint who worked to spread the Gospel in Asia.

Francis Xavier was not yet born when Portuguese ships had been moving across Arabian Sea carrying pepper and cardamom.

And Goa was not in the Portuguese map until several years after their first ship came in with Vasco Da Gama in 1498.

As trade began to pepper politics in the southwestern Indian coast, Cochin was the Portuguese base. Their ships never anchored on the seas of Goa during that time.

Then on one day in 1510, Portuguese commander Afonso d'Albuquerque came in to challenge Sultan of Bijapur. Armed Afonso was successful. History began to change as Portuguese feet touched the sandy beaches of Goa.

At that time, Francis Xavier was only four years old. He must have been then running around the Castle of Xavier in Navarre, Spain, where he was born in 1506, and baptized as Francisco de Jaso.

Living in the aristocracy of his Basque family, India and its Christian mission was not in his mind. That remained so much after he completed his teenage.

At the age of 19, he went to study at the University of Paris, where he graduated in arts in 1530. He furthered his studies in theology, and became acquainted with Ignatius of Loyola.

Meeting Ignatius ensured a change, and it meant some hard decisions.

Ignatius and Xavier together with five others bonded themselves on August 15, 1534 by a vow and formed the Society of Jesus, what is now popularly known as the Jesuit Order. They told the pope to use them for mission anywhere on the globe.

Those were the times, when Portuguese kings decided mission matters of India and the rest of Orient.

King John III of Portugal wanted Jesuits to take up mission work in the Orient. Together with two other Jesuits, Xavier left Lisbon on April 7, 1541, on board the Santiago.

He sailed through Mozambique and lived in that place until Mach 1542. He reached Goa on May 6, 1542.

In Goa, officially he held the role similar to present Apostolic Nuncio and operated from Goa the following three years.

He had grand plans and colorful dreams for mission in the Orient.

On September 20, 1542, he left for his first missionary activity among the Parava, along the east coast of southern India, north of Cape Comorin.

On the west coast, he attempted to convert the king of Travancore, but was not successful.

He also visited Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). In 1545 he planned a missionary journey to Macassar, on the island of Celebes, in today's Indonesia.

He abandoned the idea of visiting Macassar after arriving in Malacca in October 1545 and waiting there three months in vain for a ship.

He left Malacca on January 1, 1546 and landed on Amboyna, where he stayed until mid-June. He then visited other Molucca Islands. Shortly after Easter 1546, he returned to Ambon Island, and then to Malacca.

Read more at:

2) "When St Xavier was the Defender of the East"

3) "The Miraculous Body of Saint Francis Xavier"

4) “The Official Web Site of The Basilica of Bom Jesu in Goa, India where The Incorrupt Body of Saint Francis Xavier is kept in a casket”

Enjoy and let me know whether this was a post that you enjoyed reading.

1 comment:

Georgette said...

Happy belated St Francis Xavier feast day, Dominic! Excellent post! I enjoyed reading the short history of this great Saint of the Church!

Did you do anything special to mark the Feast Day?

Happy and Holy Advent, too!