St. Francis Xavier

Our very own ‘Goencho Saib

Born in the Xavier Castle in the Navarre region of what is now Spain in 1506, Francis Xavier began his adult life as a scholar in the University of Paris. Francis was an exceptional student, a champion athlete and a magnetic personality. Just before he was ready to step out of the University of Paris crowned with honours and fame, he was greatly influenced by Ignatius of Loyola, who encouraged him to become a priest.

On August 15, 1534, Francis Xavier made vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience and was ordained on June 24, 1537. Pope Paul III approved the formation of their order in 1540, which became The Society of Jesus, today popularly known as ‘Jesuits’.

While Francis Xavier was studying for his priesthood, the Portuguese settlers in India and elsewhere were losing their faith and Christian values. To restore these values, the King of Portugal asked the Pope to send missionaries to India. Francis Xavier was among the missionaries sent to Goa in 1542.

For five months in Goa, Francis Xavier administered the sacraments to the sick and to the leapers, and taught children catechism. He then continued his mission of proclaiming Christ in Southern India and the fishery coast,

Francis worked untiringly for the poor and sick. At a time when he was thrice shipwrecked, worn out from travelling, starving and attacked by pirates, he wrote,

“Never have I been happier elsewhere.”.

It was Francis Xavier’s great ambition to get permission to enter China as a missionary. He died in 1552, exhausted from his labours, fasts and ill health, on a small island off the coast of China with a single companion at his side.

What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul? Mark 8:36

When his grave was opened after a year of burial, the body was found incorrupt and as on the day it was buried. It was then taken to Malacca and buried again in the church of Our Lady of the Mount. The body was dug out for the second time, incorrupt, and brought by sea to Goa on March 16, 1554. Medical examinations testified that Francis Xavier’s body was miraculously preserved without embalmment or preservation

Xavier was 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.

I have always been a career oriented and an ambitious person. Having completed my Masters degree in Microelectronics Engineering, I held a central government regular post as Assistant Professor in a renowned college. After having my first baby, the Holy Spirit prompted my husband and me that I should leave my job and stay home with my children. With this decision I realized that prestige, position and money would have to be forfeited. It was a sacrifice I was willing to make in order to secure the souls of my children. I was reminded of the verse that caused a u-turn in the life of the academically oriented St. Francis Xavier, “What does it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?” (Mark 8:36)

As a mother I was called to give my children, God and infuse in them Christian values; something no maid or nanny would be able to do.

At this phase of my life I truly believe that my family is the foundation of greater missions to come and I strive to imitate the perfect motherly love our blessed mother had for her son Jesus.

Share your view