Francis Xavier was born on April 7, 1506. He was a Roman Catholic missionary born in Xavier, Kingdom of Navarre which is now part of Spain. He was co-founder of the Society of Jesus, a student of Ignatius of Loyola and one of the first seven Jesuits.
Xavier was appointed by John III, King of Portugal to evangelize the people of the East Indies. He left Rome in March of 1540 and reached Portugal sometime in June. There he remained for nine months before departing for India.
In India he spent his first months preaching and ministering in hospitals. Xavier would walk through the streets ringing a bell and inviting children to hear the world of God. He later devoted three years to preaching in Western India.
Although he has been called the first Apostle of the Philippines, it is not certain that he ever landed there. He did go to Japan where he learned the language and preached in numerous cities. His thoughts then turned to China and after some difficulties with Portuguese disapproval made his way to the small island of Sancian near the coast of China. He was in the process of planning the best ways to reach mainland China when he was taken ill.
St. Francis Xavier died on the Island of Sancian near the coast of China on December 2, 1552.
Considered to be the greatest missionary since the Apostles, St. Francis Xavier was canonized with St. Ignatius in 1622. The death of Gregory XV delayed the Bull of canonization until the following year.
The body of St. Francis Xavier is enshrined at Goa. In 1614, Claudius Acquaviva, General of the Society of Jesus ordered that the right arm of the body be severed at the elbow and brought to Rome where an altar was erected to receive it at the church of the Gesu.