Day 1: The Early Years (1506-1525)
Francis was born in 1506, in Javier, a small village in the province of Navarre to the north of Spain. He was a Basque, the fifth and last child of local land owners. His two brothers and two sisters were in their teens when Francis was born. Their family home was a castle. They had their own private chapel, where Mass would be said by a local priest. Sadly, his father died when he was very young, and the family lost their land and home in a war with Spain. His mother, a very devout Catholic, with the help of the local priests, made sure that he received a good education.
At the age of 19, Francis went off to study in Paris. His intention was to revive the fortunes of his family by becoming an eminent cleric. He was bright and vibrant, with a zest for life and a desire to gain profit from it. The one thing he lacked was a clear focus in his life.
- How have I been blessed from my early years – in my family and school?
- What disappointments have I encountered along the way?
- Do I now have a purpose in my life - a clear focus that gives it meaning?
O most kind and loving saint, in union with you I adore the Divine Majesty. The remembrance of the favours with which God blessed you during life, and of your glory after death, fills me with joy; and I unite with you in offering to God my humble tribute of thanksgiving and of praise.
I implore of you to secure for me, through your powerful intercession and the all important blessing of living and dying in the state of grace. I also beseech you to obtain the favour I ask in this Novena:
but if what I ask is not for the glory of God or for the good of my soul, obtain for me what is most conducive to both.