Saint Francis Xavier

   Saint Francis Xavier (1506-1552), called the "Apostle of the Indies," was a Spanish Jesuit missionary, born in the castle of Xaviero, in Navarre. While attending the University of Paris he became acquainted with St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus, and in 1534 was one of the first seven to take the vows of that order. After completing his studies at the university he traveled to Venice, Italy, were he was ordained a priest in 1537. For the next three years he served as secretary to the Jesuits in Rome. Meanwhile, King John III of Portugal had decided to send a mission to his possessions in India. Francis Xavier was chosen for the task. Accompanied by the governor-designate of India, he sailed from Lisbon, Portugal, in 1541 and arrived at Goa, Portu-guese India, a year and a month later. He was successful in estab-lishing churches up and down the western coast of India, in the Malay PenĂ­nsula, and in the Moluccas. Leaving other Jesuits in the mis-sions he had started, he went to Japan in 1549, where he was suc­cessful in gaining additional ad-herents. He stayed in Japan for about two years. Francis Xavier died while returning to Goa to organize a mission to China. He was beatified in the year 1619 and canon­ized in the year 1622.