‘Go forth to strange lands, learn to speak the language and tell the people about the word of God.’ – St. Francis Xavier
The Xavier Society for the Blind was founded to provide Catholic religious material to people who are blind or visually impaired.
The society began when a visually impaired woman named Margaret Coffey asked Jesuit Fr. Joseph Stableman (who worked with the deaf) if he could provide a meeting place and religious material for the blind. He agreed to help and the Xavier Society for the Blind began meeting at Xavier College (now a high school) in Manhattan, New York, in January 1900. The Xavier Society was officially incorporated in 1904.
Margaret Coffey donated her life savings to purchase a printing press, and the society’s first publication for the blind was the Baltimore Catechism. At one time, the society was the only publishing house making such materials available to the the blind.
Today the society produces and distributes materials in Braille, audio format and large print.