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How did St. Francis Xavier become a saint?

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Quick Answer

St. Francis Xavier was canonized and became a saint in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV. Because of the Pope's death, the Bull of Canonization was not published until 1623.

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St. Francis Xavier was born April 7, 1506 in the Basque area of Spain. He attended the University of Paris, beginning his studies in 1525. In 1534, he became one of seven individuals who created the Society of Jesus. Ignatius Loyola was another of these founding members. In 1536, Xavier left Paris, was ordained in Venice in 1537, and went to Rome in 1538.

In Rome, in 1540, the pope formally recognized the Society of Jesus, and it was sent to the Far East for missionary work. On the way to the East, Francis spent six months in Mozambique, Africa, where he preached and helped the sick. He went onto Goa, India, in 1542. There he preached to natives and Europeans. He adopted their customs and was able to convert tens of thousands to Christianity. He continued to travel and preach in India and Japan.

Pope Francis Xavier hoped to travel to China, and started out in 1552, but died that same year before he reached his goal. He worked against great odds, including lack of money and lack of cooperation from Europeans, as well as language barriers. In spite of these obstacles, his great zeal to evangelize caused him to be canonized in 1622. He was later proclaimed the patron of all foreign missions by Pope Pius X.

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