About this relic

The relic of St Francis Xavier coming to Australia is his right arm.  This is the arm with which he baptized and blessed thousands of people, the hand with which he tended and held so many sick and dying people, with which he wrote letters back home to his companions, reporting his adventures, trials and triumphs of ministry, and inspiring many others to be engaged in the missionary enterprise.

Xavier was buried on Shangchuan Island after his death, but his body was moved to Malacca two months later, at which time it was found to be incorrupt.  From the start, miracles were associated with this relic.  From the moment of its arrival in Malacca, the plague which had been raging there abruptly ceased, blind people were given their sight and sick people were healed. After nine months, it was moved to Goa, the scene of Xavier’s original and highly successful missionary work.  It remains there to this day, in the Basilica of Bom Jesus.  Every ten years Xavier’s body is exposed for veneration, and in 2005, over 2 million people came to honour him.

In 1614, the Superior General of the Jesuits arranged for the right forearm to be detached so that this significant relic could be an object of devotion at the main Jesuit church in Rome, the Gesú.  This relic has only been allowed to be removed from the Gesú on a small number of occasions, and so we are very blessed to have this opportunity in Australia for our Year of Grace.