There's something about Goa !


    St. Francis Xavier was born in Spain at the Xavier castle on 8th April 1506. He was affectionately called " JASSU ".  After completion of preparatory studies in Spain, he joined the world renowned University of Paris. The ambitious plans of his dreams to shine in the world over as one of the most intellectual luminaries were thwarted by the famous words of Jesus " what does it profit a man to gain the whole world if he looses his own soul? " repeatedly sounded into his ears by Ignatius de Loyola, one in all his room-mate, his friend, his disciple.
   Once Francis Xavier was ordained as a priest along with Ignatius de Loyola and four others, they together formed a Society of Jesus. They served Jesus in poverty and chastity. They preached and nursed the sick in the city. From Rome, through Lisbon, at the request of king of Portugal, D,Joao III , chosen to go to remote East 

and nominated as Pontifical Nuncio by Pope Paul III himself, Francis Xavier representing the Jesuits, landed in Goa, known as Rome of East wherein he preferred the Royal Hospital as his residence and spent his days nursing the sick and teaching them Christian doctrine. In the college of St. Paul , Francis Xavier was both Rector and Professor (Padre Mestre). He taught herein seminarians, natives of different parts of Asia, and some of them later on, fruitfully preached the Gospel to their brethren in local languages. He himself was however longing to reach out to the distant souls who never had a chance to listen to the message of Jesus. As such he came to be known as a "traveling Priest" .
   Much before he traveled to Japan, he studied Japanese people and their religion. As he landed in Japan he learnt their language and summarized Christian doctrine in Japanese language. Latter on, King of Bungo, at Japanese island, appreciated Christian doctrine so much so that abandoned his bonges and favored Francis as well his friends. Francis Xavier knew went to be firm and stern, specially to men in power, and tactfully he managed to set right the irregularities created in his absence by the substitute Rector, Fr. Antonio Gomes, that is much against the disciple of the Society of Jesus, indigenous boys were expelled from the seminary and were replace by the European youth. Also some European boys with out proper instruction and education were absorbed in the Society of Jesus. Francis Xavier dismissed Fr. Gomes of the onus of Rector and expelled him from the Society. And Fr. Gasper Barzen was nominated as Rector. The college of St. Paul in Goa under the new Rector and his successors, little by little controlled 300 colleges with churches in different parts of Asia.
   Whichever mission he went to he organized the missionary work with great zeal. He was as such, respected as a saintly priest, besides in his missionary life, he cured dumb, he cured deaf, he even resuscitated people and once also levitated himself whilst distributing communion in the college of Goa. After this last visit to Goa, to Cochin and Malacca missions, on his way to China he was held up on the island of Sancian due to fever. He was there surrounded by two lone people, the Indian servant Cristovao and a Chinese Antonio de Santa Fe who sensing the life-death situation of Padre Mestre placed a crucifix into the hands of dying Francis Xavier . There was no food, no medicine. Early in the morning of 3rd December , 1552 Francis Xavier closed his eyes forever in grace of Christ in a very modest hut of branches and mud lumps.

   The zeal of evangelization and arduous ship journeys had exhausted him and consumed him at the young age of 46. He was buried in Sancian island in a wooden coffin as they used to do in China. Pope Paul VI beatified him and after a careful study of his life and his apostolate, he was canonized by Pope Gregory XV on March 22nd, 1622. Francis Xavier was however, accepted as a saint in his lifetime itself. He was looked upon as glorious. In those days there was a great craze for relics. Everyone wanted to possess relics which were supposed to be the link between mortals and the supernatural so that several benefits would accrue to the owner of relics. As such several people took pieces of the body or vestments of the saint. During the very first exposition one person bit off the fifth toe of right foot and took it as relic.

    Prime Minister of Marques de Pombal during the kingdom of Dom Jose I expelled the Jesuits and Bom Jesus church along with the Casa Professa and body of the saint were controlled by the Archbishop. There was fear that after the exit of Jesuits, the duplicate keys of the coffin circulating among those staying in the Casa Professa could be utilized to open the coffin and more pieces of the body could have been removed as relics. There was charge against the Jesuits that the body of the saint was no longer in Goa or that it had been replaced with another body. So on February 10th to 12th of the year 1782 exposition was held with the main reason of conducting a physical verification of the body in order to discard the rumor that the body of the saint had been carried away by the Jesuits and the body of the deceased canon Antonio Gomes had been placed in the coffin. 
   The medical examination prior to the exposition and subsequent medical examinations demonstrated the authenticity of body of saint among other details, absence of right toe and absence of right arm. The right arm was sent to Rome and the last toe of the right foot has been missing since it was bitten off during the very first exposition. He was buried in three different countries having different climates and soil structures. The body defied decomposition and putrefactions and also throughout the historical reports, it was never recorded that the body was embalmed or that the body was decomposed or that foul smell was emanating from the body. Thus body defied the normal destiny of the mortals throughout the centuries and not yet rumbled into dust. 
  The present Archbishop Raul Gonsalves then acting as apostolic administrator of archdiocese of Goa and Daman expressed on the occasion of exposition held from 23rd November 1974 to 5th January 1975,  that " we cannot talk presently about an incorrupt body but only of sacred relic of St. Francis Xavier. Francis Xavier while living had requested that after his death the remains were to be transferred to Goa.