This week in Christian history: Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Francis Xavier, George Mueller

Francis Xavier sets sail for India – April 7, 1541

Francis Xavier
Saint Francis Xavier (1506-1552), a missionary who helped found the Society of Jesus, also known as the Jesuits. |

This week marks the anniversary of when Francis Xavier, co-founder of the Society of Jesus, or Jesuits, began his mission to India, setting sail from Portugal.

Falling on the same day as his 35th birthday, Xavier was responding to a call by King John III of Portugal, who wanted Jesuits to go to the region to help with mission work.

Xavier landed in Goa in 1542 and was active in preaching, celebrating Mass, and hearing confessions, as well as doing charitable work.

“Francis also worked with the poor who were considered undesirable due to the caste system. He used songs and religious icons to teach since he did not know the language,” noted a Jesuit website.

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