Editor’s Note: The following is part of our daily holiday series celebrating “The Shared World.”

On December 3rd, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Francis Xavier, the namesake of my house in college. For those of you who don’t know, Saint Francis Xavier was from the Basque region of Spain, and was one of the first Jesuit missionaries. While at university in Paris in 1529, he met and lived with Saint Ignatius Loyola who was beginning to establish the Society of Jesus. As a member of the newly formed society, King John III of Portugal commissioned Saint Francis Xavier to travel to part of Asia to evangelize the people. He arrived in the East Indies in 1542 at Gao, visiting hospitals and preaching the Gospel, converting many to Christianity. Through his time on the Asian continent, he traveled to India, Malacca, and Japan, preaching the Word of God to all who would listen. While traveling to China to continue his work, he took ill and died on an island off the coast of China in 1552.

Saint Francis Xavier

Saint Francis Xavier

This man traveled so far from his homeland to the end of the earth. He left his home and gave it all to God. He shared the message and brought the zeal far and wide. This lead him to to cross boundaries, both physical and cultural. When I first moved into the Xavier house and started to learn more about him, I quickly realized how he changed the world. When I think about it, even now it makes me realize how small the world really is. Saint Francis Xavier was called and so are all of us to spread God’s Word. This Advent season we are called to share in the humanity of the world. This doesn’t mean that we should go to another country for the holidays as a vacation. The contrary is to stay home and share with those who are not part of your normal day-to-day life. We are always called to reach outside our comfort zone and walk with others, just as Saint Francis of Assisi, Pope Francis and Francis Xavier did. Have a great Advent and a Merry Christmas.

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