Saint Francis Xavier of the Society of Jesus has been the greatest apostle of the Catholic Church since the time of Saint Paul. He is called the second Saint Paul. He entered the Society of Jesus when he was twenty-eight years old. When he was thirty-four years old he set out as a missionary to India and Japan, in the year 1540. He took with him no other book except his breviary. He landed in Goa on May 6, 1542, after a long and most dangerous journey of thirteen months. He went to the Molucca Islands. He was three times shipwrecked. He often spent days without food. He was attacked by the Mohammedans. After his great work in India, he started off for Japan. The next great country he wished to go to was China, and he almost reached it in 1552, when he landed on the small island of Sancian, near the coast of China. There he was taken ill and died. Francis Xavier baptized three million people. He destroyed forty thousand idols in the pagan East. He built over a hundred churches. He raised about twenty-five people from the dead. His last words were, “Virgin Mother, remember me.” Saint Francis Xavier was canonized on March 12, 1622. The Novena of Grace, celebrated in his honor, always ends each year on that day. Saint Francis Xavier was forty-six years old when he died. All his missionary work in the East was done in ten years.
See also: Saint Francis Xavier.