Francis Xavier

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Born in the Castle of Xavier near Sanguesa, in Navarre, Spain, April 7 1506, Francis Xavier died on the Island of Sancian near the coast of China, December 2 1552. Xavier and Pierre Favre were the first two men to join Ignatius Loyola in forming the Society of Jesus, better known as the Jesuits.

In 1540 he was appointed a missionary to the Portugese East Indies. He spent 3 years operating out of Goa, India, then pushed on to Malacca. In Malacca he met a Japanese man who convinced him to go to Japan. Having made another trip to Goa for Jesuit administrative purposes, he left for Japan in 1549. Xavier worked for 3 years in Japan, saw his successor-Jesuits established, and then set his sights on China. In 1552 he died at 46 without reaching mainland China. He is buried in Goa.