This great missionary was born at Xavier Castle in Spain and went to the University of Paris when he was eighteen. Here he met St. Ignatius Loyola, who was about to start the Society of Jesus. St. Ignatius tried to get Francis to join him, but at first the young man would not think of it. St. Ignatius often repeated to him the words of Jesus: “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and yet suffer the loss of his own soul?” At last, Francis saw clearly that his place in life was among the Jesuits.
When he was thirty-four, St. Ignatius sent him as a missionary to the East Indies. The King of Portugal wanted to give him presents and a servant, but Francis answered, “The best way to acquire one’s own dignity is to wash one’s own clothes and boil one’s own pot.”
During the course of his amazing career in Goa, India, Japan and other lands of the East, St. Francis made thousands of converts. He gathered the little children about him and taught them about Our Lord. Then he made little “lay apostles” out of them, telling them to spread the Faith they had learned.
There was nothing St. Francis would not do to help souls. Once he faced a fierce band of raiders, alone, with no weapon but his Crucifix. They backed up and did not attack his Christian tribes. The Saint also brought many bad-living Christians to repentance by his gentle, polite ways and by his prayers.
In the midst of his painful journeys and great labors, the Saint was full of a special joy coming from God. Sometimes he had to cry out: “Enough, O Lord, enough! My heart cannot hold any more of the tremendous joy!”
It had been St. Francis’ greatest longing to get into China, into which no foreigner was permitted. At last, the arrangements were made, but the great missionary fell ill and died almost alone on an island just off the Chinese coast.
This great saint stood out for three virtues: a great wish to bring souls to the Heart of Jesus; a heroic obedience; and a great spirit of sacrifice. Today I will ask myself what I can do for the missions.
- Saints for Young People - Imprimatur, but no year listed -
The coloring picture for St. Francis can be found here.