The Missionary Life and Labours of Francis Xavier Taken from His Own Correspondence: With a Sketch of the General Results of Roman Catholic Missions Among the Heathen

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A founding member of the Jesuit order, Francis Xavier (1506-1552) travelled as a missionary to India, Japan and China in the mid-sixteenth century. He is traditionally associated with legends of miraculous works and the conversion of tens of thousands of people. This controversial 1862 biography by the Anglican missionary clergyman Henry Venn (1796-1873) uses Xavier's own words to examine the future saint's character and private thoughts. Xavier's correspondence reveals a sensitive, energetic and occasionally vengeful man who was not averse to employing aggressive means. Containing numerous letters printed in full, Venn's chronicle provides an analysis of Xavier's mission, methods and achievements from a non-Catholic perspective. Venn also explores Xavier's close friendship with the Jesuits' founder Ignatius Loyola, and probes the facts behind previous biographers' tales of miracles. The book ends with a detailed and challenging appraisal of the overall success of the worldwide Roman Catholic mission since the sixteenth century.