Advent Saints – Saint Francis Xavier by Deacon Marty McIndoe

Indian Christians carry the remains of Saint Francis Xavier towards the Se Cathedral during a procession in Goa on November 22, 2014. The 17th exposition of the body of St Francis Xavier will be held from November 22 to January 4, 2015 in Goa, for veneration by pilgrims.  AFP PHOTO/ PUNIT PARANJPE
Indian Christians carry the remains of Saint Francis Xavier towards the Se Cathedral during a procession in Goa on November 22, 2014. AFP PHOTO/ PUNIT PARANJPE

               Saint Francis Xavier is known as the greatest evangelizer since the Apostles.  His zeal for spreading the Gospel seemed to know no boundaries.  He was a man who performed many miracles and converted a large number of unbelievers to the Church.  He visited many countries and is known for his missionary work in Portugal, India, Goa, Malacca and the Maluku Islands and Japan.  In the islands he converted the first Japanese man to the faith.  He went to Japan to continue spreading the good news.  He also wanted to convert China and headed there reaching one of its islands.  He died from disease before he could make the Chinese mainland.  He did all of this in just ten years.

               Francis was born in the Kingdom of Navarre (Basque, between Spain and France) on April 7, 1506.  He attended the University of Paris where he roomed with his good friend, Peter Favre.  Francis met Saint Ignatius Loyola at the University and was heavily influence d by him.  St. Ignatius urged Francis to become a priest.   On August 15, 1534, Francis Xavier along with Peter Favre, and several other friends, made vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.  Francis was ordained a priest on June 24, 1537.  Francis, and his friends formed a new order named the Society of Jesus and Pope Paul III approved the order in 1540.  The order is commonly known as the Jesuits. The Pope immediately put the order to work as missionaries.  Francis was made Papal Nuncio of the East in 1541, on Francis’ birthday, the same day he left for India.  Francis was 35 years old.  In India he built over 40 churches along the Pearl Fishery Coast.

               It is miraculous that in the short space of ten years (6 May, 1542 – 2 December, 1552)  Francis could have visited so many countries, traversed so many seas, preached the Gospel to so many nations, and converted so many unbelievers and built so many churches.  His zeal for the Gospel and his great accomplishments led him to be beatified by Pope Paul V on Oct. 25, 1619, and canonized by Gregory XV on March 12, 1622 at the same ceremony as Ignatius of Loyola. He is the patron of Catholic missions and his feast day is on December 3.  Here are some of his quotes:

  • I will go anywhere and do anything in order to communicate the love of Jesus to those who do not know Him or have forgotten Him.
  • We must pray without tiring, for the salvation of mankind does not depend upon material success . . . but on Jesus alone.
  • Prayer is powerful! It fills the earth with mercy; it makes the Divine clemency pass from generation to generation; right along the course of the centuries wonderful works have been achieved through prayer.
  • If you are in danger, if your hearts are confused, turn to Mary; she is our comfort, our help; turn towards her and you will be saved.
  • Did a Magdalene, a Paul, a Constantine, an Augustine become mountains of ice after their conversion? Quite the contrary. We should never have had these prodigies of conversion and marvelous holiness if they had not changed the flames of human passion into volcanoes of immense love of God.
  • The world is poisoned with erroneous theories, and needs to be taught sane doctrines, but it is difficult to straighten what has become crooked.
  • They who pray with faith have fervour and fervour is the fire of prayer. This mysterious fire has the power of consuming all our faults and imperfections, and of giving to our actions, vitality, beauty and merit.

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