St. Francis Xavier (#FeastDay)

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St. Francis Xavier (April 7, 1506 – December 3, 1552)
Canonized: March 12, 1622 by Pope Gregory XV
Feast Day: December 3
Patron Saint: Catholic Missions

St. Francis Xavier was born Francisco de Jasso y Azpilicueta into privilege in the Kingdom of Navarre, which is in present day Spain. Along with St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Francis was one of seven co-founders of the Society of Jesus, better known as the Jesuits.

St. Francis’ missionary zeal brought him from the comforts of Europe to Africa, Goa, India, Japan, China, and South East Asia.  After over 11 years of evangelizing the inhabitants of the exotic locales of Asia, St. Francis died on the Chinese island of Shangchuan on December 3, 1552.  His body was brought to Goa, India in 1553.  The body is located in the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Goa.  Every ten years, the silver casket containing the remains of St. Francis is lowered from its lofty place of honor for exposition and veneration by the faithful.

St. Francis was made co-patron saint of Catholic foreign missions along with St. Thérèse of Lisieux by Pope Pius XI.  He is known as the “Apostle of the Indies” and the “Apostle of Japan”.  He is also co-patron saint of Navarre, Spain along with San Fermin (think “Running of the Bulls”).

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