The New Student's Reference Work/Xavier, Saint Francis
Xavier (zăv' ĭ- ӗr), The Apostle of the Indies, one of the first members of the Societas Jesu (Jesuits), was born at Navarre, Spain, April 7, 1506. He was educated at Paris, graduating in 1530. Soon afterwards he joined the order formed by Ignatius Loyola, and on Aug. 15, 1534, took vows with five others, devoting themselves to missionary work in Palestine. War prevented them from carrying out this plan. When Loyola was requested to send missionaries to the Portuguese settlements in the Indies, Xavier was selected, and with one associate set out from Lisbon in 1541. He went first to Goa, to Ceylon, to Malacca and then to Japan. He intended next to go to China, but died when only in sight of that empire, Dec. 5, 1552. He was buried at Goa. It is said that during his ten years' apostleship, he planted the faith in 52 different kingdoms, preached the gospel through 9,000 miles of territory, and baptized more than 1,000,000 persons. He was canonized by Pope Gregory XV in 1622.