From the surname of the Spanish soldier–saint Francis Xavier (1506–52), one of the founding members of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits). He was born on the ancestral estate at Xavier (now Javier) in Navarre, which in the early Middle Ages was an independent Basque kingdom. Xavier probably represents a Hispanicized form of the Basque place name Etcheberria ‘the new house’. (Spanish x was pronounced in the Middle Ages as ‘sh’, now closer to ‘h’.) The given name is used almost exclusively by Roman Catholics.