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The pictorial journey of St. Francis Xavier from Shangchuan to Rome

22 January 2024 (Mon)
Seminar and Colloquium
22 January 2024 (Mon)
2:30 - 4:00pm
CEC 1002
Dr. Antonio De Caro 周盛羅博士
Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Zurich, Switzerland


The pictorial journey of St. Francis Xavier from Shangchuan to Rome
Popularizing the global cult of St. Francis Xavier during the early modern era


Time and Date:

2024. 1. 22. (Mon) 2:30-4:00pm



Dr. Antonio De Caro (周盛羅博士), Postdoctoral Researcher at University of Zurich,  Switzerland





Venue : 

CEC1002, Christian Education Centre, Ho Sin Hang Campus, HKBU



St. Francis Xavier S.J. (1506–1552) was a pioneering Jesuit missionary and the co-founder of the Society of Jesus together with St. Ignatius of Loyola S.J. (1491–1556). Soon, Xavier’s exemplary figure became a fundamental reference for Catholic missionaries who ventured to establish cross-cultural and interfaith encounters in Asia, in general, and in China, in particular during the early modern era.

Xavier died in the island of Shangchuan, off the coast of Southern China, in December 1552 and after a few months his incorrupt body was then translated first to Malacca, in Malaysia, and then to Goa, in India, where it is still preserved. The Goan veneration epitomized the success of the Jesuit missionaries in establishing a local devotion of Francis Xavier. Contrarywise, the burial place of the saint in Shangchuan island was almost entirely forgotten and was then reshaped thanks to the pictorial imagination of artists across Europe, India and South America who represented the death of Xavier there. In 1637, fifteen years after the canonization of Francis Xavier in Rome, an Italian Jesuit missionary, Fr. Giovanni Battista Bonelli S.J. (1589–1638), rediscovered the tomb of the saint in the island. 

My presentation will engage with the global popularization of the cult of Francis Xavier, his relevance for the Jesuit missions in China and the numerous depictions of the island of Shangchuan and the death of the saint there.



Department of Religion and Philosophy, HKBU



HKBU Students, Staff and Public