Saint Francis Xavier was born April 7, 1506 into a prosperous noble family. He lived in a castle, later passed on to the Jesuits. He planned a life of worldly pursuits, not the usual resume of your typical missionary, yet he is considered one of the greatest missionaries since Saint Paul.
After initially resisting efforts of conversion to the priesthood, by his close friend and lodge mate, Saint Ignatius Loyola, he not only converted, with the fervor of a zealot, but co-founded his friend’s new group of priests, seven in number, called the Society of Jesus, known as the Jesuits.
Saint Francis was an intellectual, having studied 11 years in Paris. He taught Aristotelian philosophy; missionary work simply was not on his radar. One of the seven was asked to go to India to preach the word of God, when he could not go, they asked Saint Francis. His commitment to God was so strong that he embarked on an extensive mission to Asia and embraced missionary work, as if the call came direct form God, and not his superior. Saint Francis’s passion to serve his fellow man is a tradition passed on through the ages by the Jesuits, manifested today by their motto “Men for Others”.
Our doctors who are called to serve as Mission Doctors are men and women for others. Unlike other missionaries, they do not preach the Gospel, their presence and healing hands speak the word of God, as Christ said, “By their fruits they will know them”.
So, we honor Saint Francis and the 350 Jesuit saints and martyrs, who have gone before us, endowing the Spirit of Saint Francis and Saint Ignatius Loyola to us all, particularly those of us who received a Jesuit education.