Sir: The woman who bit off St Francis Xavier's toe was not 'ecstatic' ('Vatican threatens to cast out the exorcists of Goa', 20 November), but a Portuguese noblewoman with an eye to the main chance. She bit it off on one of the rare occasions when the body was exposed for the veneration of the faithful and took it home to establish a rival attraction for the pilgrim trade in her family chapel.
The Church and the family disputed this matter until after Goa became part of the Republic of India, when the toe was reunited with the body in the Church of the Bom Jesus, where I saw it and received the above account from the priest who brought out the relic for me.
Lewes, East Sussex
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