St. Francis Xavier was born on 7th April 1506 in Xavier Castle, Navarre, Spain. He was raised in a noble family, however, his childhood was disrupted by his father’s death and the invasion of Navarre. He left his family and went to study at the University of Paris in 1525. In 1530, he obtained the degree of Master of Arts and taught philosophy where he later met St. Ignatius Loyola, who became his faithful companion.
Xavier decided to devote his life to Catholic missionary service together with Loyola and other associates, in which they founded the Society of Jesus in 1534. They vowed poverty, chastity and apostolic service at Montmartre.
In 1536, he went to Venice and worked in the local hospital helping the sick. Then he became a priest in the following year and went to Rome, where he and others in the society offered their services to the pope. Impressed by the Jesuits, Xavier was appointed to evangelize in India where he was admired by the people of that country for his ability to live and work in solidarity with the poor.
In 1545, Xavier travelled to Malacca, the Molucca Islands, the Banda Islands and the Malay Peninsula where he continued to preach the Gospel. During his time in Malacca, he learned about Japan from a Japanese man named Anjiro. Anjiro went back to Kagoshima, Japan with Xavier in 1549 and he helped Xavier to adapt to the local life there.
Leaving Japan in late 1551, Xavier’s next focus for missionary work was China. With the help of friends, he arranged a commission to China. He travelled to Sancian Island, near Canton, but he was not able to get there as the borders had been closed to foreigners. Before he could find a way inside the country, he fell severely ill. He died on December 3, 1552 at the age of 46.
Although Xavier passed away at a relatively young age, he had achieved great accomplishment. Besides being one of the founders to the Society of Jesus, he also baptized 30,000 people. His efforts left a significant impression upon the missionary history. Xavier was beatified by Pope Paul V in 1619, and canonized by Pope Gregory XV in 1622. He is now the patron saint of missionaries. In order to commemorate the contributions of St. Francis Xavier, our school is named after him as St. Francis Xavier’s College.