Saint Francis Xavier was born into an aristocratic family on 7 April 1506 in Navarre Spain. At the age of 19 he travelled to France where he studied at the University of Paris. A natural academic, he seemed destined to become an intellectual scholastic until he met Ignatius of Loyola who influenced him to dedicate his life to the service of God. Together, with five others, they founded the Society of Jesus and made their religious vows on 15 August 1534. On 24 June 1537, shortly after the Pope approved of the new Jesuit order, Xavier was ordained a priest.
Francis Xavier was appointed Apostolic Nuncio to the Indies by the Pope and left Lisbon on 7 April 1541. He visited Mozambique (Africa), Goa (India), Celyon (Sri Lanka), Makassar (and other other Indonesian islands), Malacca (Malaysia) and Japan. For the remainder of his life, Francis Xavier devoted his time to missions in foreign countries, travelling by ship and preaching Christianity. It is claimed that he converted more people than anyone since the time of St Paul. While travelling to China he fell ill and died on the island of Sangcian before reaching the mainland.
Xavier is also recognized as a great saint because of the numerous miracles attributed to him, both during his lifetime and after his death. One of the most famous ones, that of a sea crab bringing him the crucifix he had lost in the sea, has in fact been declared valid by the Church.