Saint Francis Xavier, 1506–1552
Everyone expected Saint Francis Xavier to be a teacher like other members of his family. Instead, he listened to God’s call to become a priest and a missionary. He knew his vocation was to tell people about Jesus. He was one of the first people to follow Saint Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit order. He served God by leaving his home in Spain and going to Asia. He preached the Gospel in India, Indonesia, and Japan. Many people became Christians because of him. When Saint Francis didn’t know the language of the people he was with, he taught by using pictures of Mary and Jesus.
Discuss: How can you share the Gospel with others?
Francis Xavier is the patron Saint of missionaries and foreign missions. He began the first Christian mission in Japan, where he worked for two years. Before then, Francis spent seven years as a missionary among the lower caste people in southern India and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), in response to an invitation from King Juan III of Portugal. He died just before he was able to begin work in China.
Explain to the child that Saint Francis Xavier sometimes could only use images to tell the story of Jesus.