Francis Assisi, 8 years of age, is a student of Marian Matriculation, Higher Secondary School, St. Thomas Mount. He belongs to St. Antony’s Parish, Alandur. Born to Sheeba and Ebirayim, this little boy has amazing talent and awesome memory. Unlike other boys of his age who play with cars and toys, Francis has shown interest in learning prayers and has mastered the prayer “Hail Mary” in 56 languages. Francis can fluently recite the prayer and also switch over from one language to another without any confusion whatsoever.
He was named Francis Assisi as his mother considers him to be a miracle child. He was born after 8 years of marriage and after many complications. While praying for a normal, healthy baby to Our Lady of Fatima, his mother Sheeba came across an old calendar of Saint Francis of Assisi and hence she prayed that when her son is born, she would give him the name of the saint.
Some languages in which he can recite the Hail Mary are Tamil, English, French, Spanish, Latin, Polish, Portuguese, Italian, Hebrew, Malayalam, Konkani, German, Greek, Czech, Syrian, Aramaic, Afrikaans, Arabic. Japanese, Russian, Croatian, Chinese, Hungarian, Mexican, Ethiopian, Korean, Vietnamese, Swahili, Hindi, Irish, Zulu, Vasco, Catalan, Albanian, Angola, Shuar, Quiniaruanda, Norwegian, Quechua, Kannada, Xavante, Igbo, Chamoru, Bengali, Toba Qom, Miskito, Telugu, Aramaic, Filipino, Chaldean and Punjabi etc.
Francis mastered this skill by watching a YouTube channel named Wagner Silva. He started off with Spanish and with the help of his mother went on to learn the prayer in all the other languages.
Francis was motivated to learn the prayer during his yearly visits to the Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Health, Vailankanni. He travels to Vailankanni along with his family for the flag hoisting ceremony that takes place on August 29th each year. It was in this Shrine, that he heard the Hail Mary being recited in various languages and was inspired to try it out himself.
He was recently given an award by the Universal Records Forum for his ability to recite the Hail Mary in 54 different languages.
Francis is an all rounder and also excels in academics. He received the award for Academic Proficiency when he completed U.K.G. He is also interested in music and is learning to play the keyboard. He sings well too.
Francis has been honoured for his talent by the Rector of Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Health, Vailankanni in 2019 and also earned appreciation and encouragement from Rev. Father Y.F. Bosco, the Parish Priest of Our Lady of Guidance Church, R. A. Puram and Rev Father Jacob, the Parish Priest of Saint Louis Church, Adyar.
Francis is not stopping with this achievment, he is proceeding to learn the prayer in more languages and thereby earn more laurels.
Juliana Sridhar is a lawyer and columnist.