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The Great Dreamer :The Life and Mission of St. Francis Xavier


Brendan Comerford SJ

‘this accessible and entertaining biography captures the tempestuous times and paints a lively picture of life as a missionary in the sixteenth century.’ Independent Catholic News

A short but fascinating biography of this most courageous and adventurous of saints. One of Ignatius of Loyola’s original companions, St Francis was central to the formation of the Society of Jesus. Quoting extensively from his letters, the author describes many stories and anecdotes which bring Xavier to life; we begin to feel we know him well as we learn about his personality, his interactions with the poor and with priests, bishops and kings.

On April 7th, 1541, Xavier’s thirty-fifth birthday, he set sail for India, arriving in Goa just over a year later. He spent about 8 years in both India and Indonesia, baptising thousands and working to set up churches and communities. In 1549 he arrived in Japan where he spent a couple of years, before travelling to China where he died in 1552 just six miles from the Chinese coast. This well-researched account is very accessible and paints a vivid picture of life as a missionary in the sixteenth century.

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Brendan Comerford SJ is an experienced spiritual director. He served as Jesuit novice master and lectures in the history of Christian spirituality. Previous publications include Disciples of Courage: Ten Christian Lives that Inspire (2022) and The Pilgrim’s Story – the Life and Spirituality of St Ignatius Loyola (2017).

210 x140mm