Happy St. Francis Xavier Day

Know you’re really psyched about and ready to celebrate today as being Green Bean Casserole Day. However, there is another “feast” day on the calendar for today that I want to discuss with you – St. Francis Xavier. And while St. Mary’s Ryken alum will recognize and know who I am talking about, the rest of you are probably going – Who? Well, read on.


The Xaverian Brothers were founded by Theodore James Ryken in Belgium. However, the idea of forming a group of educators started when Ryken visited and lived in the U.S. for a couple of years when he was in his early 30’s (click here.) The rest as they say is history.

In 1853, Bishop Martin Spalding of Louisville, Kentucky invited the Xaverians to open St. Francis Xavier High School in Louisville. After he became the Archbishop of Baltimore in 1864, Spalding then invited the Xaverians to open several schools in Maryland. From there, they went on to open additional schools in several other states. Today, their headquarters is still in Baltimore.

[One sad, side note that I found in looking for info on the Xaverian Brothers is the whole abuse issue that unfortunately also surfaced in their community. They recognized and addressed it in a letter of hope and healing (click here and scroll down.) Those of you who attended Ryken years ago may even see a name or two of Brothers who taught us and who were “recognized with a credible or established offense against a minor.” As I said, very sad.]

I don’t want to end on that note. Hence, I will pass along something else I just learned. It has to do with St. Francis Xavier’s home area of Navarre, whose capital city is Pamplona. Yep, that same Pamplona where every July the crazies get out in the streets and run with the bulls. Here it is set to music. Ah yes, music to get gored and trampled by!

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