Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Saint Francis Xavier

Francis Xavier *1506, †1552. Italian holy card.

Francisco de Jaso y Azpilicueta was one of the first seven Jesuits. He joined Ignatius at the University of Paris, and went on to Italy. A trip to Palestine did not materialise. He was sent to Portugal; and that opened up the Indies. The places that Christopher Columbus wanted to get to, and thought that he did some, were the places that Francis did get to.

In his missionary career, Francis converted more people to christianity than anyone. This means, more than Paul in his journeys. Paul needed to know greek, for greek was the common language in the eastern Mediterranean. Francis was basque, he had to know french, spanish and latin in his upbringing and schooling; yet he was not facile in languages. He had to, repeatedly, rely on interpreters. Some sort of charisma had to be in effect, he did convert hundreds of thousands of souls.

Francis was the Apostle of the Indies. He missioned in the Portuguese colony of Goa. He went on to South India and Ceylon, Malacca and the Moluccas (parts of to-day’s Malaysia and Indonesia), perhaps the Philippines. He was the first christian missionary in Japan. He came to Kagoshima first, and he attempted to see the emperor in Kyoto. He had success, and he had opposition, in all the places he went. There are many miracles, that, are associated with his missioning.

He learned of China’s influence on Japan. He wanted to go to the chinese. He went back to Goa. Francis went east again. While waiting on the chinese island of Sanchón, he died waiting for permission to come to the mainland. His incorrupt body was taken back to Goa.

postscriptum: It is not always possible to find everything, on the internet, all the time. Some time ago, I noted to myself this site/page: I was given some no such page available rubbish. I tried again and found some great stuff, with many fine photographs, but only after getting a page with “The site you're looking for is unavailable.” Trying a bit about the site, I got to: There was this picture taken, by Brendan Eagan, of an exhibit item in Nagasaki’s 26 Martyrs Museum. Once traveling through the Mollucan islands, near Ceram, Francis calmed the waters with a crucifix, which was then lost. Next day ashore, a crab came out of the sea, with it in his pincers, as Francis and his companions were walking the beach. This is quite striking, and this story ought be more familiar, and the image more common.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've been searching and searching for some unique symbols to put on my son's First Communion banner. His namesake is St. Francis Xavier and we wanted to honor that in some way... THANK YOU for linking to the picture and story of the crab holding the cross. I haven't seen that anywhere else!