|Saint Francis Xavier was one of the founding members of the Society of Jesus,|
also known as the Jesuits.
In Naples in 1633 there lived Fr. Marcello Mastrilli, S.J. He had taken the vow to ask to be assigned to the Japan Mission, then the most difficult; for at that time the Buddhist persecution was most cruel against the Catholic religion and the new form of martyrdom introduced was most excruciating. It was known as the "Pit" for the martyrs were kept hung, head downwards over a volcanic pit from which sulphurous gases and waters welled up. At times the martyrdom was protracted for several days before the victim expired.
The torture was so horrible that in 1633 the Provincial of the Japan Mission Fr. Ferrara after five days of agony over the "Pit" apostatized. But hundreds of others, priests and laymen, Europeans and Japanese in holy emulation reached the martyr's crown through the terrible "Pit".
When the news of the unfortunate Ferrara's apostasy reached Europe, many Jesuits vowed themselves to the Japan Mission to replace their martyred brethren and to atone for the apostate. Marcello Mastrilli was one of them.
Fr. Ferrara was subsequently reconverted and atoned for his fall by dying a martyr's death over the "Pit" in 1652.
While waiting for the passage to Japan, Mastrilli organized on a grand scale the feast of the Immaculate Conception in the College of Naples...Story of the Origin of the Novena of Grace continues here
This Novena prayer was passed down through the ages:
Attributed to Father Marcello Mastrilli, S.J., 17th century
"Most amiable and most loving Saint Francis Xavier, in union with thee I reverently adore the Divine Majesty. I rejoice exceedingly on account of the marvelous gifts which God bestowed upon thee. I thank God for the special graces He gave thee during thy life on earth and for the great glory that came to thee after thy death. I implore thee to obtain for me, through thy powerful intercession, the greatest of all blessings -- that of living and dying in the state of grace. I also beg of thee to secure for me the special favor I ask in this novena.
Mention requests here…
In asking this favor, I am fully resigned to the Divine Will. I pray and desire only to obtain that which is most conducive to the greater glory of God and the greater good of my soul."
V. Pray for us, Saint Francis Xavier.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
O God, Who didst vouchsafe, by the preaching and miracles of Saint Francis Xavier, to join unto Thy Church the nations of the Indies, grant, we beseech Thee, that we who reverence his glorious merits may also imitate his example, through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Add 3 Our Father's and 3 Hail Mary's in memory of Saint Francis Xavier's devotion to the Most Holy Trinity, and Glory be 10 times in thanksgiving for the graces received during his 10 years of apostleship
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