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Saint of the Day December 03: St. Francis Xavier

St. Francis Xavier: Life, Works and Legacy of the Great Jesuit Missionary


Francisco de Jasso Azpilicueta Atondo y Aznares de Javier




April 07, 1506, Navara, Spain


December 03, 1552, Sancian Island, China


03 December


October 25, 1619, Rome, Pope Paul V


March 12, 1622, Rome, Pope Gregory XV


O generous Francis Xavier, who at the invitation of Ignatius of Loiola abandoned the world and with it science, honors and riches to follow the ways of the apostolate, welcome under your tutelage those who wish to be inspired by your love for souls, and to contribute to their salvation through the easier ways of missionary cooperation. Instill in us the persuasion that we cannot be useful to others without having brought about a salutary reformation of ourselves, nor call the unbelievers to faith or call the erring ones back to it, without having affirmed by the example of a dignified life, the high value of Christianity. By so doing we shall have made ourselves less unworthy of your patronage, and more effective in the mission entrusted to us to succor those who, in your footsteps of passion and glory, walk to the Christian conquest of peoples. Amen.

Patron Saint of

Napoli, Sant’Anastasia, Sorbo San Basile, Gressoney-La-Trinité

Protector of

Sailors, missionaries, missions

Roman Martyrology

St. Francésco Savério, Priest of the Society of Jesus and Confessor, Apostle of the Indies, heavenly Patron of the Congregation and of the work of the Propagation of the Faith and of all the Missions; who rested in peace on the previous day.


The Saint and Mission

St. Francis Xavier, one of the first members of the Society of Jesus and missionary extraordinaire, is an icon of Christian mission. His life, lived in the 16th century, was characterized by an ardent desire to spread the Gospel to distant and uncharted lands, reflecting a deep sense of calling and dedication to the cause of Christ.

St. Francis Xavier’s mission extended from Goa, India, to Japan and Southeast Asia, regions at the time almost completely unknown to the European Christian world. In each place, he engaged not only in preaching the Gospel, but also in learning the local language, understanding the culture and customs of the people, demonstrating a respect and adaptation that was revolutionary for his time. This ability to adapt and connect with people from different cultures was crucial to the success of his mission.

Moreover, his missionary approach was not limited to preaching; it included an active commitment to service to others, particularly the poor and the sick. St. Francis Xavier showed a special sensitivity to the physical and spiritual needs of the people he encountered, seeking to alleviate suffering and needs with a love that reflected that of Christ.

His life is a clear example of how Christian mission can be realized holistically, not only through preaching, but also through loving service and inculturation, which implies a deep respect and genuine understanding of different cultures and traditions. St. Francis Xavier embodied Christ’s mandate to go and make disciples in all nations, demonstrating that Christ’s love knows no geographic or cultural boundaries.

St. Francis Xavier remains an inspirational figure for all those involved in Christian mission, reminding us that spreading the Gospel requires passion, empathy, respect for cultural diversity, and an unreserved commitment to the service of others. His life is a living testimony to how faith can be shared authentically and transformatively throughout the world.

The Saint and Mercy

St. Francis Xavier, one of the founders of the Society of Jesus and a pioneering missionary in the 16th century, is an emblematic figure in the expression of Christian mercy through mission. His life was a relentless journey of evangelization, taking the message of the Gospel to then remote areas such as India, Southeast Asia and Japan, always with a deep spirit of compassion and service.

St. Francis Xavier’s mercy was manifested in his empathetic and humane approach in his missionary work. He not only preached the Gospel, but also worked to understand the cultures and languages of the peoples he met, respecting their traditions and showing a genuine interest in their welfare. This openness and mutual respect were fundamental to establishing genuine dialogue, which is the essence of true mercy: listening, understanding and responding to the needs of others.

Moreover, his dedication to the sick and needy, caring for and assisting them, was a clear sign of his dedication to practical mercy. St. Francis Xavier did not just teach Christian doctrine; he lived out his teachings through concrete actions of love and care. His life reflected the conviction that faith must be actively lived out by showing compassion and mercy to those in need.

St. Francis Xavier teaches us that mercy is a fundamental aspect of the Christian mission. His legacy inspires us to consider how mercy, love and service must be at the center of all evangelizing action, and that the proclamation of the Gospel must always be accompanied by a sincere and tangible commitment to one’s neighbor. In this sense, his life is a perpetual reminder to live the faith in a way that deeply embodies Christ’s mercy and compassion toward all human beings.


On April 7 in the year 1506, in the castle of Xavier, in Navarre, was born the one whom Urban VIII would call “the Apostle of the Indies,” St. Francis Xavier.

From his adolescence he applied himself with passionate love to the study of letters, in which he achieved excellent results. Already professor of Philosophy in the college of St. Barbara in Paris, he met by God’s providence with St. Ignatius of Loyola. The latter tirelessly repeated to him the Gospel sentence, “What does it profit a man to acquire the whole world, if he then loses his soul? “.

With the help of grace the holy founder of the Jesuits induced him to reflect well on this, making him understand the truth and…


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