St. Francis Xavier was a Catholic priest and co-founder of the Society of Jesus. He dedicated his life to bringing the gospel to the people of India and Japan.
The person who commissioned this painting requested that Francis be portrayed holding a small child—and I think that captures the spirit of his mission. Forsaking man-made honour and titles, he went straight to the poor, the sick, the outcast. He would walk through the slums of the city ringing a bell to call the children to catechism. He was utterly tireless in his efforts, sharing the good news of God’s kingdom with courage and love. His passionate evangelism brought around 30,000 souls to Christ.
This is the castle where my great great grandmother on my mother’s side was raised. According to the story, she was knocked up by the gardener and disinherited. She moved to Canada where she worked as a hat maker to provide for herself and her infant son. She eventually married and raised a family. When she passed away her husband remarried, and his jealous new wife burned all of her things, including journals, clothes, and photographs—which is too bad, because those would have been super cool to look through. This castle, however, still stands as a historic landmark in Slovakia.
It is a dream of mine to visit there someday and experience in person this beautiful remnant of my family history.
I was inspired for this painting during mass one day. As it was one of my first attempts at digital painting, I spent dozens upon dozens of hours working to get it just right. My dad has been selling magnetic prints of it from his site since the Christmas after I painted it, and it’s weird to walk into random people’s homes and see it stuck to their fridge.