Born in the
family castle of Xavier, near Pamplona in the Basque area of Spanish Navarre on Apr. 7, he was sent
to the University of Paris 1525, secured his licentiate in 1528, met Ignatius Loyola and became one
of the seven who in 1534, at Montmartre founded the Society of Jesus. In 1536 he left Paris to join
Ignatius in Venice, from whence they all in tended to go as missionaries to Palestine (a trip which
never materialized), was ordained there in 1537, went to Rome in 1538, and in 1540, when the pope
formally recognized the Society, was ordered, with Fr. Simon Rodriguez, to the Far East as the first
King John III kept Fr. Simon in Lisbon, but Francis, after
a year´s voyage, six months of which were spent at Mozambique where he preached and gave aid to the
sick eventually arrived in Goa, India in 1542 with Fr. Paul of Camerino an Italian, and Francis
Mansihas, a Portuguese. There he began preaching to the natives and attempted to reform his fellow
Europeans, living among the natives and adopting their customs on his travels. During the next
decade he converted tens of thousands to Christianity. He visited the Paravas at the tip of India.
near Cape Comorin, Tuticorin (1542), Malacca (1545), the Moluccas near New Guinea and Morotai near
the Philippines (1546-47), and Japan (1549- 51). In 1551, India and the East were set up as a
separate province and Ignatius made Francis its first provincial. In 1552 he set out for China,
landed on the island of Sancian within sight of his goal, but died before he reached the mainland.
Working against great difficulties, language problems ( contrary to legend, he had no proficiency in
foreign tongues ), inadequate funds, and lack of cooperation, often actual resistance, from European
officials, he left the mark of his missionary zeal and energy on areas which clung to Christianity
for centuries. He was canonized in 1622 and proclaimed patron of all foreign missions by Pope Pius
X. F. D. Dec. 3.
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