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Critical Study of the Missionary Work of Francis Xavier in South India

  • Date Submitted: 01/15/2013 10:31 PM
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Critical Study of the missionary work of Francis Xavier in South India
By Reeju Tharakan
Francis Xavier was a Jesuit missionary who worked in India from 1542 to 1552. He came with a firm determination to serve God and people, contributed to the education of children and youth, and worked for “the greater glory of God.” His attitude to and relationship with Portugal colonial power was cordial he used their help for mission in India. An evaluation of his approach in mission and his attitude to other religions, culture, and life of the native people should bring in to light that he was influenced by colonialism.
Francis Xavier was born on April 7, 1506, at Xavier Castle, near the town of Sanguesa, in north Spain. He was born into a wealthy Royal family and decided to become a priest and went to the University of Paris in 1525 to study theology. Xavier remained in Paris as a teacher until November 1536 and he spent the next several years assisting Ignatius Loyola in his social works in Venice and Rome. In early 1540, Loyola received a request from Joao III, the King of Portugal, for Jesuit missionaries for Portugal’s colonies in the East Indies. Francis Xavier committed to become the Jesuit missionary to the East Indies. The king took a special interest in seeking the papal approval for Francis Xavier and to send him as a Jesuit missionary to India because of his commitment for mission among the poor and needy.
He sailed in 1541, and reached Goa, in May 1542. The first five months he spent in preaching and ministering to the sick in the hospitals. He would go through the streets ringing a little bell and inviting the children to hear the word of God. When he had gathered a number, he would take them to a certain church and would there explain the catechism to them. He opened the first Jesuit school for native children in Goa in 1542. Xavier saw the school as an opportunity to do good by initiating the young into secular and human knowledge and simultaneously into...

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