The Castle & Sanctuary of St. Francis Xavier – Origin of a great Jesuit missionary

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The Sanctuary and Castle of Javier is located in a small town in Navarra called Javier, about 52 km. from Pamplona. It is a place where the man of today, yesterday and tomorrow may receive the good news of salvation which helps him follow the right path of Life. Each year, the Sanctuary and Castle of Javier opens its doors to thousands of men and women, Christian and non-Christian visitors mainly from Spain, France, Italy, Germany, the United States and Japan.

Here the question arises: What do the pilgrims and religious tourists want and expect by coming to Javier? Most of them seek a personal encounter with the merciful and good natured invisible power who they call God by different names, according to their beliefs. In this sense, one could say that Javier is a privileged place of evangelization, a place of reconciliation, consolation and hope, as well as a gallery of art, history and culture.

Castle

At the beginning of the second millennium, in the eleventh century, Esabierre, a Basque name that means new house, was an isolated defensive tower, located on the border between the kingdoms of Navarre and Aragon. The infant Fernando de Aragon gave the town and fortress to the King of Navarre Sancho VII el Fuerte in 1223 as a guarantee for a loan that could not be repaid, so Javier definitively became part of the kingdom of Navarre. And later this is where Francisco Xavier was born on April 7th in 1506.

Museum

In the museum and art gallery there are documents, coins, furniture, objects and paintings of the era that illustrate the cultural, artistic and religious heritage of Xavier.

  • Dioramas of Lopez Furio

José López Furió built these sculptures in 1967. There are twelve and are presented in a sharp perspective behind the crystal which produce the most significant moments of the biography of Xavier. These sculptures are installed in the old cellar of the Castle.

  • Documentation of the era

What used to be the old stables of the castle now exhibit objects belonging to the site and memories of the Saint. You can understand the historical evolution of the castle thanks to a magnificent model, various schemes and plans, watercolors by Marquis de Villa Antonia and portraits of Madrazo. There are also medals, chalices, engravings and documents of that era.

  • Kakemonos of the XIX century

The kakemonos are Japanese drawings of the late XIX century that reflect scenes of the evangelization by Xavier in that country.

The large room and the Holy room

The Grand or Principal Hall was a place for receiving guests and where the inhabitants of the castle spent much of the day. It is the fourth largest hall in the castle. The Saint’s room, to the right of the Tower of San Miguel, is probably the oldest of the enclosures where young Francisco lived until 1525.

Christ´s Chapel

Located to the right of the tower is the Chapel San Miguel. It is the greatest treasure in the castle. It occupies the so-called Tower of Christ, a small space that originally was a place of prayer and worship for the family. The walls of the room are decorated by stunning frescoes from the XV century, depicting the dance of death. The room is presided with a smiling Christ carved in walnut, dating from the XIII century. Tradition says that this carving sweated blood the day Xavier died on the coast of China.

Basilica

The basilica was made by architect Angel Goicoechea, between 1896 and 1901, and was commissioned by the Duchess of Villahermosa, descendant of the family of Xavier. The basilica is of an eclectic style and uses elements of romantic, Gothic and Byzantine art. The Neo-Romanesque facade contained in its tympanum with the names of the different parts of Europe, Africa and Asia and their capitals visited by Xavier, represent different scenes from his life. The interior is a neo-Gothic nave with pilaster stands.

On the altar there stands a large image of San Francisco Xavier flanked by twelve Jesuit saints (To his right, Francisco de Borja, Pedro Claver, Francisco de Regis, Francisco Jeronimo, Paul Miki and Pious Ignacio Acebedo; and to his left, Luis Gonzaga, John Berchmans, Stanislaus Kostka, Alonso Rodriguez, Juan Diego Goto and Kisay). Upon the doors, several Italian paintings by Caparoni depicting various moments of the life of Javier can be found throughout the castle.

Francisco de Jasso classroom

The Francisco de Jasso classroom, designed by the architect Anton Lopez de Aberasturi, is configured as a classroom-auditorium for one thousand three hundred people, where they can attend liturgical and cultural-religious acts in appropriate conditions. Attached is the exhibition hall with 1,258 seats. The exhibition hall covers an area of 140 m2 and the research center and Schurhammer register is 80 m2.

Ignatian Spirituality Center of Javier

The Ignatian Spirituality Center of Xavier is a center of service and inspiration, with the  purpose to help deepen the Christian life and experience. Jesuits believe this along with the Ignatian Spirituality is an excellent way to live life in an integrated, harmonious and constructive manner.

Church of the Annunciation of Javier

The temple has a unique value in the spiritual path of St. Francis Xavier. That is where his first conversion took place by receiving the Baptism water in the basin beneath the choir, an interesting piece of the XV century. His childhood and adolescent prayers, before heading on the Parisian adventure, were directed to the Virgin and Child altarpiece, aware of the exciting future for the love of Christ that awaited the young Xavier.

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