I came accross the strange tale of this Spanish Saint, St Francis Xavier,( affectionately called “Jassu”….as in Jassu Jaissi Koi Nahin..lol..)who had lived in India for ten years doing his good works till he died of fever. By that time he’d proved his metal as a Saint, miraculously raising a boy from the dead, and doing various other miraculous acts. He’s the patron saint of St. Xavier’s college, Mumbai, where my brother-in-law just passed out and as I was browsing the net I came accross some strange information about him. Some may be fact and some may be legend, but its a spooky tale to be told.
For instance…as his body was not in any way preserved…why does he look like he’s been mumified?
Today, his holy remains look a bit like a well preserved mummy. From looking at the photographs of pictures I purchased from the gift shop at the Basilica, I would say it is rather dry and light-brownish looking, yet the details of the ears and eyelids and nose and lips and wrinkles in the skin on the cheeks are incredible considering it was never preserved in any way, not even air conditioned or hermetically sealed to keep out the effects of the caustic Indian weather of intense heat and humidity. It should be noted that the Basilica doors and windows are kept open most of the day, allowing heat and humidity in freely, and without any type of air conditioning, as is the norm for all churches and most buildings and houses. The body has always been subject to these conditions, even to this day, as it lays in an ordinary glass case, its removable lid held in place by screws.
The most famous and strange incident regarding the body of St. Xavier is that in
1554—the little toe on the right foot was bitten off by a Portuguese lady named Dona Isabel de Carom, “as she was anxious to have a relic of the Saint.” It gushed blood, as if from a living body.
And apparently, over the years, much in the way that half crazed rock fans tear at the hair and clothes of their rock idols, devotees of St. Xaviers have gradually dismembered his corpse so that only bits of him remain on display in the shrine of Bom Jesus Basilica (built in 1605) in Goa in March 2002.
“The Incorrupt Body of St Francis Xavier suffered not only many indignities but also many violences from the thoughtless friends as well as admiring devotees through all the vicissitudes it has known during these four [now more than 4 ½] centuries. We already know how the servant who was sent to exhume the body from the desolate coast of Sancian cut off a piece of flesh, a finger’s length from the left knee.” [This gushed forth blood as if it had been cut from a living body.]
Click Chronicle of Meandering Traveller to read the story of St. Xavier.