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St. Xaviers
Goa’s most treasured possession is the body of a saint who died four and a half centuries ago. St. Francis Xavier the Patron Saint is so invoked by all Goans – Christians and Non- Christians. His feast, celebrated on the 3rd of December, is a state holiday. A visit to Goa always includes a visit to his shrine in the OldCity. Visitors find it a unique experience. Francis was born in the Castle of Xavier in Navarre, Spain. While a student of philosophy in Paris, he met fellow Spaniard lgnatius of Loyola who changed his perception to the meaning of life. He then gave himself to the service of the poor, the sick and the needy. Along with lgnatius and his companions he made himself available for service wherever his superiors sent him. He was assigned the mission of teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the people of India and the East. He arrived in Goa on 6th May 1542.

xaviersThe next 10 years saw him toiling to accomplish this mission. His activities extended from the Persian Gulf to Japan, when the mode of travel was by wind- driven sailing boats. He saw himself as a pioneer, opening the way for others, and placed much hope in the College of St. Paul in Odl Goa where young men from all over Asia were being educated to carry on his mission. Francis died aged 46, on the desolate isle of Sanchian, on his way to China. His body was buried on the shores. Two months later, Portuguese sailors on their return from Japan decided to take his mortal remains to Malacca. When the body was exhumed, it was found to be fresh and supple. In Malacca Francis Xavier was buried until 15th.

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