Story of Saint Francis Xavier: The Patron Saint of Foreign Mission

The story of Saint Francis Xavier is a remarkable one, filled with missionary works, spiritual devotion, and miraculous events. The body of the saint, who died over 400 years ago, still remains intact and preserved in a glass case in the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Goa, India. It is said that his body has not yet decayed even after centuries, a testament to his holiness and divine grace.

Francis Xavier was born on April 7, 1506, in the Kingdom of Navarre, which is now part of Spain. He came from a noble family, the richest in the kingdom, but at the age of nine, he lost his father. Francis was taught by his mother and a parish priest in his early years, and he could speak Spanish and Basque when he was young. At the age of 19, he left the castle to study at the University of Paris.

Paris became his home for the next nine years, during which he met two people who would have a significant influence on his life: Pierre Fabre, his roommate, and Ignatius of Loyola, a former soldier who had a religious conversion while recovering from a war wound. Ignatius had a profound impact on Francis, and he eventually convinced him to join the Society of Jesus, which they co-founded together.

After taking the vows of chastity and poverty, Francis made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem with six other companions. He then set out on a mission to spread the Gospel, devoting his life to the service of God. King John of Portugal was impressed with the works of the Society of Jesus and requested missionaries to be sent to the Portuguese settlements in India to revive the Christian faith. Father Nicholas and Father Simao were supposed to take up the mission, but due to illness, Father Francis was selected instead.

Father Francis left Lisbon on April 7, 1541, on his 35th birthday, and arrived in Goa, India, in May of that year. He spent the next decade evangelizing and establishing churches in India, Japan, and other parts of Southeast Asia. He is considered the patron saint of foreign mission, along with Saint Teresa of Avila, and is regarded as one of the greatest missionaries after Saint Paul.

Father Francis died on December 3, 1552, on an island near China while waiting to enter the mainland. His body was first buried on the island, then moved to Malacca, Malaysia, and finally brought to the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Goa, India, where it remains to this day. It is a testament to his devotion and holiness that his body has remained intact even after centuries.

In conclusion, the story of Saint Francis Xavier is one of faith, devotion, and missionary works. His life serves as an inspiration to those who seek to serve God and spread his word throughout the world.

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Note: While content aims to align with Catholic teachings, any inconsistencies or errors are unintended. For precise understanding, always refer to authoritative sources like the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Always double-check any quotes for word-for-word accuracy with the Bible or the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

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