|St. Francis Xavier (1506-1552)
A close friend of Ignatius and a founding member of the Society of Jesus, Francis is best known for his zealous missionary spirit which sent him from his native Spain to Goa, the East Indies, and Japan. Along the way, Francis is known to have baptized thousands and overseen the instruction of hundreds of catechists. As the saying goes, ‘the best defense is a good offense,” and for Xavier, his aggressive evangelization tactics won the Church many converts and sowed the seeds of Christianity in Asia.Xavier must be considered a favorite. His never say die attitude, coupled with untapped supply of energy (and abundant grace) should make him ‘a shoe in’ for the finals. Who could doubt a man who said the following: “Lord, I am here! What do you want me to do? Send me anywhere you like — even to India.”
|Stanislaus Kostka (1550-1568)
Is he just an eighteen year old rebel without a cause? Stanislaus Kostka did rebel against his Polish Father and older brother but it wasn’t without a cause. This saint’s family sent Stanislaus to an intensive training camp in Vienna for gifted young nobility of the time. Going against his Father’s wishes, instead of political sport Stanislaus opted for religious sport. Like the greats of the past for any game, this young saint defines determination. Nothing would stop him from joining the team known as the Society of Jesus, not even having to walk a thousand miles—he would’ve walked a hundred more!Why Stanislaus wins: First of all, respect. Do not let his youthful face fool you. When the Jesuit general, Fr. Francis Borgia, met with Stanislaus to sign him for the upcoming novitiate season he wrote of him, “We expect great things from him.” Fr. Borgia does not easily impress. When Fr. Borgia sees talent you can bet your money the kid will not disappoint. Remarkably, Stanislaus spiritual prowess is defined not by what he does, but what he doesn’t do. In his first season, after only ten months of court time, Stanislaus predicted his own death and died on August 15, 1568. Stanislaus accomplished nothing during his life—expect perfect union with God, but whose counting?