By Bernard J. McGuckian SJ
The author is one of three brothers who are Jesuit priests in Ireland.
St Francis Xavier
Last 7 April was the 500th anniversary of the birth of St Francis Xavier, generally regarded as the greatest Christian missionary since St Paul. He was born in the Spanish Basque country in the castle of Xavier, a word that simply means ‘new house’ in Basque. The public missionary dimension of his life lasted for ten short years ending with his death on 3 December 1552 on Sancian Island, situated a short distance from the Chinese mainland, about 64 kms from Macao. What happened in those ten years has become the stuff of legend – with one major difference to most legends: the facts were even more extraordinary than the stories.