His birth. His natural endowments, and first studies. His father purposes to recal him from his studies, and is diverted from that resolution. He continues his studies, and sets up a philosophy lecture. He is preserved from falling into heresy. His change of life. His retirement, and total conversion. He consecrates himself to God, by a vow. What happened to him in his journey to Venice. What he did at Venice. He goes to Rome, and from thence returns to Venice. He prepares himself to celebrate his first mass. He celebrates his first mass, and falls sick after it. St Jerome appears to him. He goes to Bolognia, and labours there with great success. He relapses into his sickness, and yet continues preaching. He is recalled to Rome by Father Ignatius, and labours there with great success. The occasion of the mission into the Indies. He is named for the mission of the Indies. God mysteriously reveals to him his intended mission to the Indies. He takes his leave of the Pope, and what his Holiness said to him. He departs from Rome. How he employed himself during his journey. His letter to Ignatius. Some remarkable accidents in his journey to Lisbon. He passes by the castle of Xavier without going to it. He arrives at Lisbon, and cures Rodriguez immediately after his coming. He is called to court. The manner of his life at Lisbon. He refuses to visit his uncle, the Duke of Navarre. The fruit of his evangelical labours. The reputation he acquired at Lisbon. They would retain him in Portugal. He is permitted to go to the Indies, and the king discourses with him before his departure. He refuses the provisions offered him for his voyage. He goes for the Indies, and what he said to Rodriguez at parting.
I have undertaken to write the life of a saint, who has renewed, in the last age, the greatest wonders which were wrought in the infancy of the church; and who was himself a living proof of Christianity. There will be seen in the actions of one single man, a new world converted by the power of his preaching, and by that of his miracles: idolatrous kings, with their dominions, reduced under the obedience of the gospel; the faith flourishing in the very midst of barbarism; and the authority of the Roman church acknowledged by nations the most remote, who were utterly unacquainted with ancient Rome.
This apostolical man, of whom I speak, is St Francis Xavier, of the society of Jesus, and one of the first disciples of St Ignatius Loyola. He was of Navarre; and, according to the testimony of Cardinal Antonia Zapata, who examined his nobility from undoubted records, he derived his pedigree from the kings of Navarre.
His father was Don Juan de Jasso, a lord of great merit, well conversant in the management of affairs, and who held one of the first places in the council of state, under the reign of King John III. The name of his mother was Mary Azpilcueta Xavier, heiress to two of the most illustrious families in that kingdom; for the chief of her house, Don Martin Azpilcueta, less famous by the great actions of his ancestors, than by his own virtue, married Juana Xavier, the only daughter and remaining hope of her family. He had by her no other child but this Mary of whom we spoke, one of the most accomplished persons of her time.
This virgin, equally beautiful and prudent, being married to Don Jasso, became the mother of many children; the youngest of whom was Francis, the same whose life I write. He was born in the castle of Xavier, on the 7th of April, in the year 1506. That castle, situated at the foot of the Pyrenean Mountains, seven or eight leagues distant from Pampeluna, had appertained to his mother's house for about two hundred and fifty years; his progenitors on her side having obtained it in gift from King Thibald, the first of that name, in recompence of those signal services which they had performed for the crown. 'Tis from thence they took the name of Xavier, in lieu of Asnarez, which was the former name of their family. This surname was conferred on Francis, as also on some of the rest of his brothers, lest so glorious a name, now remaining in one only woman, should be totally extinguished with her.
That Providence, which had selected Francis for the conversion of such multitudes of people, endued him with all the natural qualities which are requisite to the function of an apostle. He was of a strong habit of body, his complexion lively and vigorous, his genius sublime and capable of the greatest designs, his heart fearless, agreeable in his behaviour, but above all, he was of a gay, complying, and winning humour: this notwithstanding, he had a most extreme aversion for all manner of immodesty, and a vast inclination for his studies.
His parents, who lived a most Christian life, inspired him with the fear of God from his infancy, and took a particular care of his education....