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Francis Xavier, born Francisco de Jasso y Azpilicueta (7 April 1506 – 3 December 1552) was a pioneering Roman Catholic missionary born in the Kingdom of Navarre (now part of Spain) and co-founder of the Society of Jesus. He was a student of Ignatius of Loyola and one of the first seven Jesuits, dedicated at Montmartre in 1534.[1] He led an extensive mission into Asia, mainly in the Portuguese Empire of the time. He was influential in the spreading and upkeep of Catholicism most notably in India, but also ventured into Japan, Borneo, the Moluccas, and other areas which had thus far 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 one day reach China. However, the government in China disliked most missionaries and many were killed. Francis Xavier was born in the family castle of Xavier (Xabier, toponymic name whose origin comes from "etxaberri" meaning "new house" in the Basque language) in the Kingdom of Navarre on April 7, 1506 according to a family register. He was born to an aristocratic family of the Kingdom of Navarre, the youngest son of Juan de Jaso, privy counsellor to King John III of Navarre (Jean d'Albret), and Dońa 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 Kingdom of Castile and the Kingdom 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, after a failed Navarrese-French attempt to expel the Spanish invaders from the kingdom, an attempt in which Francis' brothers had taken part, the Spanish Castilian kingdom's Governor, Cardinal Cisneros, ordered family lands to be confiscated, the demolition of the outer wall, the gates and two towers of the family castle, the moat was filled, and the height of the keep was reduced in half.[3] Only the family residence inside the castle was left. 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 Collčge Sainte-Barbe in Paris. There he met Ignatius of Loyola, who became his faithful companion, and Pierre Favre. While at the time he seemed destined for academic success in the line of his noble family, Xavier turned to a life of Catholic missionary service. Together with Loyola and five others, he founded the Society of Jesus: on the 15 August 1534, in a small chapel in Montmartre, they made vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, and also vowed to convert the Muslims in the Middle East (or, failing this, carry out the wishes of the Pope). Francis went, with the rest of the members of the newly papal-approved Jesuit order, to Venice to be ordained to the priesthood, which took place on 24 June 1537. Towards the end of October, the seven companions reached Bologna, where they worked in the local hospital. After that, he served for a brief period in Rome as Ignatius' secretary.
He left Lisbon on 7 April 1541 along with two other Jesuits and the new Viceroy Martim Afonso de Sousa, on board the Santiago. From August until March 1542 he remained in Mozambique, having reached Goa, then capital of Portuguese India's on May 6, 1542, and also visiting Vasai. There 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, but soon departed,[6] having spent the following three years in India. Conversion of the Paravars by Francis Xavier in Goa, in a 19th-century colored lithograph. In 1542, he left for his first missionary activity among the Paravars, katesar/kadaiyar Pattamkattiyars(head of fishery coast) and mukkuvars, pearl fishers along the east coast of southern India, North of Cape Comorin (or Sup Santaz). He built nearly 40 churches along the coast with the fund of local headmen and king, out of this St. Stephen's Church, Kombuthurai find mention in his letters dated 1544.He lived in a sea cave in Manapad, intensively catechizing paravars and other children for three months in 1544. He then focused on converting the king of Travancore to Christianity and also visited Ceylon (present-day Sri Lanka). Dissatisfied with the results of his activity, 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 procuring success for his missionary trips. Instead of trying to approach Christianity through the traditions of the local religion and creating a nativised church as latter fellow Jesuit Matteo Ricci did in China, he was eager for change[citation needed]. His successors, such as de Nobili, 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 him). However Francis' mission was primarily, as ordered by King John III, to restore Christianity among the Portuguese settlers. Many of the Portuguese sailors had had illegitimate relationships with Indian women (miscegenation); Francis struggled to restore moral relations, and catechized many illegitimate children.

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Additional Photos by Valter Palone (bayno) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1344 W: 297 N: 2538] (18348)
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