They were college buddies
It was more than just the shared experience of being far away from home. It was even more than just the normal excitement and adventures of a university environment.
What bonded these seven guys together was Jesus and a deep desire to do great and brave things.
That bond persisted even when one of them lay dying in a makeshift hut on a small island off the coast of China.
The dying man was disappointed that he had taken ill just before what had promised to be the biggest opportunity of his life (in China) and yet he was content, because his soul was in the hands of the Lord.
In truth, he had already accomplished great and brave things for Jesus: performing awesome miracles as well as personally converting and baptizing over forty thousand people in the farthest reaches of the world, including India and Japan.
St. Francis Xavier, Apostle to the Far East and one of the original seven members of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), died 456 years ago yesterday and his memory is celebrated on this day.
(adapted from an earlier post)