Born in the Castle of Xavier near Sanguesa, in Navarre, on April 7, 1506.
Francis Xavier, a Basque nobleman, left his home at the age of 19 to study at the University of Paris. There he met Saint Ignatius of Loyola who convinced the worldly young man to dedicate himself to the service of Christ. With Ignatius and five others, on August 15, 1534, Francis took a vow to consecrate his life to the service of Christ, and the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) was born.
He went with Ignatius and his companions to Rome in 1538 and in 1541 embarked on a long and dangerous voyage to Goa, India where he landed 13 months later.
His missionary work in Goa and the southern and western coast of India bore an abundance of fruits, with tens of thousands of pagans being baptized into the Church. He also went further east and made it all the way to Japan where he established Christian communities.
His entire missionary life – which lasted a little more than ten years until his death in 1552 was abundant in miracles and magnificent apostolic feats, but he also experienced much opposition from many European officials, most of whom had been exploiting the native populations.
In 1552 he set out for China and landed on the island of Sancian within sight of the mainland coast, but he died before he was able set sail on December 2, 1552 He was canonized in 1622 and is the patron saint of all missions.