"Inspired by the Sisters of St. Joseph, St. Francis Xavier Catholic School provides an excellent academic foundation, promotes spiritual formation, and instills within each student a desire to serve others.”
Our Philosophy - Educational Beliefs
Inspired by the Gospel of Matthew - 24:32 “Let the fig tree teach you a lesson.”
Academically, the Xavier student enriches his/her mental abilities, articulates views orally and visually, becomes technologically sound, and evaluates objectives and solutions.
Inspired by the Gospel of Mark - 1:17 “Follow me.”
Globally, the Xavier student develops self-guided discipline and dignity, discovers cultural respect, participates in serving others, and raises consciousness of social justice.
Inspired by the Gospel of Luke - 24:29 “Stay with us.”
Physically, the Xavier student gains insight to cooperative participation, experiences self-improvement, and develops a keen sense of sportsmanship in competition.
Inspired by the Gospel of John - 20:19 “Peace be with you.”
Spiritually, the Xavier student models love of God, appreciates the value of prayer in his/her life, and lives out his/her faith in Church, family, and society.
The History of the Sisters of St. Joseph and St. Francis Xavier School
Written by Sister Anna Kearns, csj
The history of the Congregation of Saint Joseph, whose sisters began St. Francis Xavier School, is a long and vivid one – a history of over three hundred years of unswerving devotion to the cause of education of youth in accordance with the highest Christian principles.
Actually, the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph had two beginnings. It was founded at LePuy, France, in 1650 and experienced rapid flowering, only to be dispersed during the storm of the French Revolution, when its convents were pillaged, its records lost, and its members imprisoned or executed for their devotion to Christ.
Soon after the storm of the Revolution had passed, the saintly Mother Saint John Fontbonne restored the Congregation, and not only quickly, regained its former achievements but continued and extended its work in the instruction of the young, the care of orphans, and of the sick in hospitals, and the teaching of the deaf. God signally blessed her work, and today there are flourishing communities of the Sisters of St. Joseph in all parts of the world.
In 1836, the Sisters became missionaries to the New World at a time when Native Americans were a familiar sight throughout this country. To their first log cabin convent in St. Louis, Missouri, the Congregation can now conduct its numerous foundations throughout the United States, and in Canada, Japan, Peru, and Chile. The Sisters of St. Joseph are now engaged not only in education but in a multitude of ministries.
St. Joseph’s School was established in Brunswick in 1900. Reverend P.J. Luckie, S.M., requested that Rt. Reverend Benjamin J. Keiley, D.D., Bishop of Savannah, start a Catholic school in St. Francis Xavier parish. The Sisters of St. Joseph started and staffed the school in September of that same year.
A former boarding house on the corner of Richmond and Howe Streets became the first school. Three rooms downstairs were converted to classrooms and accommodations were made for the Sisters on the second floor. The school opened with from 60 to 70 pupils. Even in the beginning, this number of pupils proved to be too many for the building to accommodate, so in the spring of 1902 property was purchased, and work began on the colonial-type building which served as a convent and school for so many years.
In 1953 a new convent, designed by C.M. McGarvey, was built for the sisters. In 1955 plans were begun by Reverend James Cummings, S.M. for the erection of a new school. The new name, St. Francis Xavier School, replaced St. Joseph School as a tribute to the people of the parish who generously supported a parochial school.
The new building was located at 1121 Union Street, directly east of the Church property, and was also designed by C.M. McGarvey. The building originally consisted of eight classrooms and a Kindergarten, a cafetorium and kitchen, a library and book supply room, lavatories, a Principal’s office, a health room, and a teacher’s lounge. The main building is rectangular in shape surrounding a lovely courtyard. Foreseeing that an addition would be necessary, Father Burkort bought the house and land south of the school in 1961. Two new classrooms were built in 1964. Since then, another extension includes a building for Kindergarten and one for the Pre-School.
In 1993, because of the decline in the number of sisters, the convent was converted into office space for several ministries of the parish, including the Christian Formation Center with offices and meeting rooms.
A Parish Center, shared by the parish and school, was dedicated in 1996.
By the grace of God, and the support of many generous benefactors, a 30,000-square-foot, two-story school was built on a piece of property owned by the parish. The new school was dedicated on May 7, 2023, with the first school year opening in August 2023.
The school principal and staff work to carry out the charisma of the Sisters of St. Joseph as they educate and graduate capable, confident, and caring students who will share their gifts of faith and knowledge in the community and the world.
Our Patron Saint
Saint Francis Xavier
Born in the family castle of Xavier, near Pamplona in the Basque area of Spanish Navarre on April 7, Francis was sent to the University of Paris in 1525. He secured his licentiate in 1528, met Ignatius Loyola, and became one of the seven who, in 1534 at Montmartre, founded the Society of Jesus. In 1536 he left Paris to join Ignatius in Venice, from whence they all intended to go as missionaries to Palestine (a trip that never materialized). He was ordained there in 1537, went to Rome in 1538, and, in 1540, when the Pope formally recognized the Society, was ordered, with Fr. Simon Rodriguez, to the Far East as the first Jesuit missionaries.
There King John III kept Fr. Simon in Lisbon, but Francis, after a year's voyage, six months of which were spent at Mozambique where he preached and gave aid to the sick, eventually arrived in Goa, India, in 1542 with Fr. Paul of Camerino, an Italian, and Francis Mansihas, a Portuguese. There Francis began preaching to the natives and attempted to reform his fellow Europeans, living among the natives and adopting their customs on his travels.
During the next decade, he converted tens of thousands to Christianity. He visited the Paravas at the tip of India, near Cape Comorin, Tuticorin (1542), Malacca (1545), the Moluccas near New Guinea, Morotai near the Philippines (1546-47), and Japan (1549-51). In 1551, India and the East were set up as separate provinces and Ignatius made Francis its first province. In 1552 he set out for China, landed on the island of Sancian within sight of his goal, but died before he reached the mainland. Working against great difficulties, language problems (contrary to legend, he had no proficiency in foreign tongues), inadequate funds, lack of cooperation, and often actual resistance from European officials, he left the mark of his missionary zeal and energy on areas that clung to Christianity for centuries. He was canonized in 1622 and proclaimed patron of all foreign missions by Pope Pius X.