Thursday, 3 December 2015

3rd December - Francis Xavier

Francis Xavier, (1506 – 1552), was born to the nobility of the Basque reqion. He studied and taught philosophy at the University of Paris and planned a career as a professor. His friend, of Ignatius of Loyola, convinced him to use his talents to spread the Gospel.

In Goa, India, while waiting to take ship, he preached in the street, worked with the sick, and taught children their catechism. He would walk through the streets ringing a bell to call the children to their studies. He is said to have converted the entire city.

He criticised King John of Portugal over the slave trade: "You have no right to spread the Catholic faith while you take away all the country's riches. It upsets me to know that at the hour of your death you may be ordered out of paradise."

He was a successful missionary in India, the East Indies and Japan, baptizing more than 40,000 converts. He is reputed to have dined with head hunters, washed the sores of lepers in Venice, taught catechism to children in India, baptizing 10,000 in a single month. Wherever he went he would seek out and help the poor and forgotten. He travelled thousands of miles, mostly barefoot.

Patron for missions, missionaries & navigators and is often represented by a crucifix, a preacher carrying a flaming heart, a bell, and a globe.

The best way to acquire true dignity is to wash one's own clothes and boil one's own pot.

Francis Xavier