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St. Francis Xavier Unit

Francis Xavier

Francis Xavier, SJ, born Francisco de Jasso y Azpilicueta (7 April 1506 – 3 December 1552), was a Basque Roman Catholic missionary born in Xavier, Kingdom of Navarre (now part of Spain), and co-founder of the Society of Jesus. He was a study companion of St. Ignatius of Loyola and one of the first seven Jesuits who took vows of poverty and chastity at Montmartre, (Paris) in 1534. He led an extensive mission into Asia, mainly in the Portuguese Empire of the time. He was influential in evangelization work most notably in India. He also ventured into Japan, Borneo, the Maluku Islands, and other areas which had, until then, not been visited by Christian missionaries. In these areas, being a pioneer and struggling to learn the local languages in the face of opposition, he had less success than he had enjoyed in India. It was a goal of Xavier to extend his missionary preaching to China but he died in Shangchuan Island shortly before doing so.

St. Francis Xavier was beatified by Paul V on 25 October 1619, and was canonized by Gregory XV on 12 March 1622. In 1624 he was made co-patron of Navarre alongside Santiago. He is considered to be one of the greatest missionaries since St. Paul. He is known as the “Apostle of the Indies,” and the “Apostle of Japan”. In 1927, Pope Pius XI published the decree “Apostolicorum in Missionibus” naming St. Francis Xavier, along with St. Thérèse of Lisieux, co-patron of all foreign missions. He is now co-patron saint of Navarre with San Fermin. The Day of Navarre (Día de Navarra) in Spain marks the anniversary of Saint Francis Xavier’s death on December 3, 1552.

Early life

The castle of the Xavier family was later acquired by the Society of Jesus. Francis Xavier was born in the castle of Xavier, in the Kingdom of Navarre, on 7 April 1506 according to a family register. He was the youngest son of Juan de Jasso y Atondo, who belonged to a prosperous farming family and had acquired a doctorate in law at the University of Bologna and later became privy counselor and finance minister to King John III of Navarre (Jean d’Albret). Francis mother was Doña Maria de Azpilcueta y Aznárez, sole heiress of two noble Navarrese families. He was thus related to the great theologian and philosopher Martín de Azpilcueta. Notwithstanding different interpretations on his first language,no evidence suggests that Xavier’s mother tongue was other than Basque, as stated by himself. and confirmed by the sociolinguistic environment of the time.

In 1512 under Ferdinand the Catholic as King of the first political unit referred to as Spain, joint Spanish troops from both the Crown of Castile and the Crown of Aragon commanded by Fadrique Álvarez de Toledo, second Duke of Alba, first invaded partially the Kingdom of Navarre. Three years later, Francis’ father died when Francis was only nine years old. In 1516, Francis’ brothers participated in a failed Navarrese-French attempt to expel the Spanish invaders from the kingdom, and the Spanish Castilian kingdom’s Governor Cardinal Cisneros ordered to confiscate the family lands, demolish the outer wall, the gates and two towers of the family castle, and fill in the moat. In addition, the height of the keep was reduced in half.Only the family residence inside the castle was left. In 1522 a brother of Xavier is found along with another 200 Navarrese earls staging dogged but failed resistance against the Castilian Count of Miranda in Amaiur, Baztan, the last Navarrese territorial position south of the Pyrenees.

For the following years with his family, till he left for studies in Paris in 1525, Francis’ life in the Kingdom of Navarre, then partially occupied by Spain, was surrounded by a war that lasted over 18 years, ending with the Kingdom of Navarre being partitioned into two territories, and the King of Navarre and some loyalists abandoning the south and moving to the northern part of the Kingdom of Navarre (currently France).

In 1525, Francis went to study at the Collège Sainte-Barbe in Paris where he would spend eleven consecutive years. In the early days he acquired some reputation as an athlete and a fine high-jumper.

In 1529 a new student, Ignatius of Loyola, came to room with Francis and Pierre Favre. By the time they met Ignatius, Peter and Francis were already friends sharing lodgings. At 38, Ignatius was much older than Peter and Francis, who were both 23 at the time. Peter was won over by Ignatius to become a priest and work for the salvation of souls but Francis proved more difficult as he had aspirations of worldly advancement. At first Francis was not much taken with Ignatius and he regarded the new lodger as a joke and was sarcastic about his efforts to convert students.  Only after Peter left their lodgings to visit his family, when Ignatius was alone with the proud Navarro, was he was able to slowly break down Xavier’s stubborn resistance. According to most biographies Ignatius is said to have posed the question: “What will it profit a man to gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” However according to James Broderick such method is not characteristic of Ignatius and there is no evidence that he employed it at all.

In 1530 Francis received the degree of Master of Arts, and afterwards taught Aristotelian philosophy at Beauvais College.

On 15 August 1534, together with Ignatius of Loyola, Alfonso Salmeron, Diego Laínez, Nicolás Bobadilla from Spain, Peter Faber from Savoy, and Simão Rodrigues from Portugal met in Montmartre outside Paris, in a crypt beneath the church of Saint Denis, now Saint Pierre de Montmartre, he made private vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience to the Pope, and also vowed going to the Holy Land to convert infidels.

Francis began his study of theology in 1534 and was ordained on June 24, 1537. He celebrated his first Mass in Vicenza after forty days in prayers.

It was in 1540 that the King of Portugal, John III, had, Pedro Mascarenhas, the Portuguese ambassador at the Vatican, ask the Pope for Jesuit missionaries to spread the faith in his new Indian possessions. Loyola promptly appointed Nicholas Bobadilla and Simão Rodrigues. At the last moment, however, Bobadilla became seriously ill. With some hesitance and uneasiness, Ignatius asked Francis to go in Bobadilla’s place. Thus, Xavier accidentally began his life as an apostle to the East.

Leaving Rome on 15 March 1540, in the Ambassador’s train, Francis took with him a breviary, a catechism, and a Latin book (De Institutione bene vivendi) written by the Croatian humanist Marko Marulić that had become popular in the counter-reformation. According to a 1549 letters of F. Balthasar Gago in Goa, it was the only book that Francis read or studied. Francis reached Lisbon in June 1540 and four days after his arrival, he and Rodrigues were commanded to a private audience with the King and the Queen, which lasted more than one hour.

Missionary work

Francisco Xavier asking John III of Portugal for an expedition.

Francis Xavier was the first Jesuit missionary. Francis devoted much of his life to missions in Asia, after being requested by King John III of Portugal to travel to Portuguese India, where the king believed that Christian values were eroding among the Portuguese. After successive appeals to the Pope asking for missionaries for the East Indies under the Padroado agreement, John III was encouraged by Diogo de Gouveia, rector of the Collège Sainte-Barbe, to recruit the newly graduated youngsters that would establish the Society of Jesus.

Francis Xavier moved mainly in four centers: Malacca, Amboina and Ternate, Japan, and China. His growing information about new places indicated to him that he had to go to what he understood were centers of influence for the whole region. China loomed large from his days in India. Japan was particularly attractive because of its culture. For him, these areas were interconnected; they could not be evangelized separately.

Goa and India

He left Lisbon on 7 April 1541, Xavier’s thirty-fifth birthday, along with two other Jesuits and the new viceroy Martim Afonso de Sousa, on board the Santiago. As he departed, Francis was given a brief from the pope appointing him apostolic nuncio to the East. From August until March 1542 he remained in Portuguese Mozambique, and arrived in Goa, then capital of Portuguese India on 6 May 1542, thirteen months after leaving Lisbon.

Following quickly on the great voyages of discovery, the Portuguese had established themselves at Goa thirty years earlier. Francis’ primary mission, as ordered by King John III, was to restore Christianity among the Portuguese settlers. The Christian population had churches, clergy, and a bishop, but many of the Portuguese were ruled by ambition, avarice, revenge, and debauchery. There were a few preachers but no priests beyond the walls of Goa. To meet this challenging situation Xavier decided that he must begin by instructing the Portuguese themselves in the principles of faith, and gave much of his time to the teaching of children. His mornings were usually spent in tending and comforting the distressed in hospital and prison; after that, he walked through the streets ringing a bell to summon the children and servants to catechism. He was invited to head Saint Paul’s College, a pioneer seminary for the education of secular priests that became the first Jesuit headquarters in Asia.

Xavier soon learned that along the Pearl Fishery Coast, which extends from Cape Comorin on the southern tip of India to the island of Manaar, off Ceylon, there was a Jati of people called Paravas, many of whom had been baptized ten years before, merely to please the Portuguese, who had helped them against the Moors, but remained uninstructed in the faith. Accompanied by several native clerics from the seminary at Goa, he set sail for Cape Comorin in October 1542. First he set himself to learn the language of the Paravas; he taught those who had already been baptized, and preached to those who weren’t. His efforts with the high-caste Brahmins remained unavailing.

He devoted almost three years to the work of preaching to the people of southern India, converting many, and reaching in his journeys even the Island of Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Many were the difficulties and hardships which Xavier had to encounter at this time, sometimes because the Portuguese soldiers, far from seconding his work, hampered it by their bad example and vicious habits. He built nearly 40 churches along the coast, including St. Stephen’s Church, Kombuthurai, mentioned in his letters dated 1544.

During this time, he was able to visit the tomb of St. Thomas the Apostle in Mylapore, (now part of Madras (Chennai) then in Portuguese India). He set his sights eastward in 1545 and planned a missionary journey to Makassar on the island of Celebes (today’s Indonesia).

As the first Jesuit in India, Francis had difficulty achieving much success in his missionary trips. His successors, such as de Nobili, Matteo Ricci, and Beschi, attempted to convert the noblemen first as a means to influence more people, while Francis had initially interacted most with the lower classes (later though, in Japan, Francis changed tack by paying tribute to the Emperor and seeking an audience with

     Unit Members

  1. Lilly George
  2. Joy E.A
  3. Jose E.A
  4. Andrews K.J
  5. Johnson K.J
  6. Varghese P.M
  7.  Anthony K.K
  8. Antony K.V
  9. Thomas K.V
  10. Thomas K.S
  11. Antony V.A
  12. Poulose K.K
  13. Kochuthresia
  14. Rossy Thoman
  15. Jose K.L
  16. Thomas K.L
  17. Jaison K.P
  18. Jacob K.V
  19. Joy K.V
  20. Antony K.L
  21. Thomas K.V
  22. Thomas C.A
  23. Vargese K.A
  24. Antony M.V
  25. Thomas K.C
  26. Lonappan K.A
  27. Antony K.A
  28. Roy K.P
  29. Ancily K.P
  30. Sany P.T
  31. Biju P.M
  32. Anthony P.T
  33. Libin P.I
  34. Antony C.L
  35. Johnson C.L
  36. Jose C.P
  37. Antony C.P
  38. Varghese P.T
  39. Devassy P.A
  40. Jose K.C
  41. Antony P.A
  42. Thomas P.A
  43. Mathai P.A
  44. Jibin P.F
  45. Thomas P.P
  46. Antony P.P
  47. Sany K.O
  48. Varghese K.C
  49. George K.L
  50. Joy P.M
  51. Johny P.M
  52. Varghese M.A
  53. Johnson K.P
  54. Joseph K.O
  55. Annies Johny
  56. Paul K.P

 

 

Unit Meetings

 

Sl.No Date & Time Place/House Name
1 Feb-08-2015,03:00PM ……………………..
2 Feb-08-2015,03:00PM …………………….
3 Feb-08-2015,03:00PM …………………….
4 Feb-08-2015,03:00PM …………………….
Committe Members
K.O SANY

K.O SANY

President

Contact Details: Mala P.O Pin:680732
Mob: 7034344299

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Vice President

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GINI JAISON

GINI JAISON

Sectary

Contact Details: Mala P.O Pin:680732

ANCY K.C

ANCY K.C

Joint-Sectary

Contact Details: Mala P.O Pin:680732

THOMAS K.S

THOMAS K.S

Treasurer

Contact Details:  Mala P.O Pin:680732

 

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Joint-Treasurer

Contact Details:  Mala-680732