Watching CBC’s The National last night I got a bit of a jolt.
David Common hosted a feature about how the severed arm of Saint Francis Xavier (who died in the year 1552) is doing a cross-Canada tour of churches, where it will be on display.
14 cities will host the arm, which will be flying Air Canada. They’re not able to put it under the plane or in the overhead bins so the thing WILL GET ITS OWN SEAT ON THE PLANE.
Most of Xavier’s body lies in Goa, India. He baptized around 100,000 people in that country and he’s been on display for centuries. From the years 1614-1620 numerous parts of him were removed, including both of his arms and all of his organs, to be distributed to Malacca, Macau and Japan. During that time his coffin was also opened for “public kissings” where people could witness and touch the miracle for themselves.
The miracle that people believe to have occurred is that when the saint died, they covered his body with lime to help it decay faster. When it was exhumed the next year people were shocked to see that after the lime was removed, he appeared to be as fresh as he was when he passed away.