Francis Xavier, Saint (Francisco de Jassu Y Xavier)

1506 - 1552
Missionary and co-founder of Society of Jesus
Roman Catholic
Far East

Francis Xavier[1]was one of the seven founders of the Jesuits, part of the original group with Ignatius Loyola. He is regarded as one of the greatest missionaries in Catholic history.

The youngest of five children, Francis Xavier (Francisco de Jassu Y Xavier) was born on  April 7, 1506 in the castle of Navarre, Spain. His father, Dr. Juan de Jassu, was President of the Royal Council of Navarre. His mother, who was of noble birth, brought as part of her dowry Xavier Castle. The family lived in their little dominion of Navarre for a long time, despite the many bombardments from jealous feudal lords. Xavier, who chose to study in the University of Paris, found the beginning of college life very demanding. Even at recreation they were obliged to read the works of the great philosophers such as Aristotle and Socrates.

During his years at the University of Paris, he became acquainted with Ignatius Loyola and joined the small band that was to become the nucleus of the Society of Jesus. Ordained with Ignatius in Venice on June 24, 1537, Francis Xavier laboured in various parishes and hospitals in Monselice, Bologna, and Rome until March 15, 1540. The following year, on April 7, 1541, he sailed for Goa as Papal Nuncio for the Far East. 


  1. ^ Francis Xavier arrived in Malacca in 1545 and until his death in 1552, he visited Malacca five times. In 1548 while in Goa, he sent Fr. Francisco Perez and Bro. Roque de Oliveira to Malacca and they set up the first Jesuit Residence and a school. From “History of the Church”,

Adapted and reproduced by permission from Maureen K. C. Chew, The Journey of the Catholic Church in Malaysia, 1511-1996 (Catholic Research Centre, 2000)