Saint Francis Xavier

3rd December

St. Francis Xavier and St. Therese of Lisieux are co-patrons of the missions.

Francis Xavier preached the Gospel as he travelled to faraway countries to India, Japan, and China, baptising thousands of people.

Therese of Lisieux became a patroness of the missions, living as a Carmelite cloistered nun, without travelling anywhere. She offered her life, her prayers, her sacrifices and penance for missionaries worldwide. God works in mysterious ways!

Francis Xavier never planned to become a missionary. He did not even plan to be a priest. His focus was on study and learning, planning to become a professor of philosophy at the University. God had other plans for him. God’s message came to him through his friend Peter Faber, who he introduced him to Ignatius of Loyola. Like Peter and Ignatius he became a priest. Together with Ignatius of Loyola, they founded the Society of Jesus, the Order known as the Jesuits. The three of them became saints: St. Francis Xavier, St. Peter Faber, St. Ignatius of Loyola.

A characteristic of Francis Xavier was his positive personality, his cheerfulness and generosity, greeting others with a smile, winning so many people to Christianity. Pope Francis himself has frequently commented that “true Christians have cheerful faces and eyes full of joy.”* For Francis  Xavier learning and studying was very important and he took it very seriously.

Discuss with the children how and why taking their schoolwork seriously is important.

  • Encourage them to realise that learning makes them ‘complete people’.
  • Assure them that their worth is not judged by their grades but by how seriously they take their work.
  • The most important factor is that they give their best effort.
  • Each and everyone is valuable to fulfil a role in life, whatever it might be.

Take the opportunity to discuss the issue of friends.

It was through his friend Peter Faber and later Ignatius of Loyola that Francis discovered what God was asking of him. They were good friends because their influence on Francis led him to good things.

  •   Ask the children how they would recognise good friends?
  •   What would they do if they realise that the influence of some friends is not as it should be?
  •   Lead them to find ways how they can be good friends for others.
  •   Stress the beauty of greeting everyone with openness and a smile in our group of friends whether we get on well with them or not.
  •  We can ‘preach’, not with words but by the way we behave. Let them find examples of how they can do this.

It has been said that Francis made use of song as a means to remember catechism lessons!
You might consider putting to song a simple prayer ( eg. Hail Mary, Glory Be) for the little ones to help them memorise it. For the older ones they might put a personal prayer to a song!

Francis changed his outlook on his life from the verse in St. Matthew’s Gospel (Mt. 16, 26)
What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits (loses) his soul”

For family prayer time, prepare beforehand simple Gospel quotes. Print them. Let the older children read the one you would have chosen for the day.

In a quiet time of prayer, let them voice what they feel, what comes to their mind when they read it.
Point out that it is Jesus who is giving them that message.

Suggestions for quotes:

  • Luke 6, 31.
  • Matthew 19, 14. and 22, 37-39
  • Colossians 3, 20
  • Ephesians 4, 22
  • Psalm 107, 1

Share with the children your own special quote and what it means to you!

Saint Francis was born in Spain and together with St. Ignatius of Loyola founded the Jesuits society. This missionary preached and spread the Word of God in Africa, India, Japan and the Philippines. Being Catholic in these countries is very difficult; however, St. Francis, never gave up and wherever we was, he was a living reminder of how to be Faithful in the Lord even in difficult scenarios.

 Show and tell!

Colour this template.

This week, find some time to read or watch a video either about a story from the Bible or about your favourite saint; it could be St. Francis Xavier! Prepare some points and pictures and ask your school teacher or catechist to share your points and pictures to your friends. To make it more difficult, now that we are in Advent and we’re preparing to celebrate the birth of Jesus, try to act like your favourite saint or Jesus with your family and friends!

How to use this space

God speaks to us in many ways, including through the Saints of the Church. Here you will find useful background and activities to better understand the holy life, helping you to connect the saints to daily life in a meaningful way.