Anthony Xavier Kasbar, or Xavier as most knew him, was an exceptional human being by all accounts. He was gifted as a child with an IQ of over 150. He was only 13 when he took his first college courses and his professors said that he was the brightest student they have ever had. He was an athlete who loved soccer, basketball, and skiing. At 17 years old, Xavier created the Gemiini Reading Program that shows a promising treatment for dyslexia. Thousands of children with special needs have gone on to benefit from Xavier’s exception reading program. This is testimonial from just one of the parents whose child used Xavier’s reading program.
“[My daughter] had many MRIs, FMRIs, intensive remedial reading instruction and more. The top experts at UCLA told us she would never be able to read due the structure of her brain and no semantic overlap of auditory & visual fields…
“All these data aside, we tried Gemiini over the summer - in 6 weeks she began reading for the first time in her life at 13 years old - and she went up 4 grade levels in 6 weeks. This is a miracle!”
(This girl is now a young woman in University becoming a special education teacher due to Xavier’s program)
Xavier wanted to change the world.
He was a charismatic and charming leader who drew people close because of his highly unusual mix of confidence and kindness. While nice things like that are said about many people after they die, Xavier proved them true over and over in his life. He constantly did things that would make us step back and smile, they were so incredible.
One of the most stunning proofs of his leadership came in his high school freshman year. We had just moved to San Diego from Spokane and he was facing his first day orientation at La Jolla HS. New kid. Freshman year. A kid raised in the countryside had just moved to a clique-y, glamorous beach town. Xavier decided he wanted to wear a cream-colored linen suit to school—a recipe for disaster.
But when he came home the first day he was excited. He had made friends. One the second day, more friends. On the third day he told me he was going to run for Class President. On the following week, HE WON THE ELECTION. That was Xavier. He always thought he could do the unthinkable, and sometimes he actually did.
That was before the disease hit hard.
Xavier’s version of uni-polar mania disorder was as dynamic and forceful as he was as a man. Unlike most others, there was no “cycling” between highs and lows. There were just mesmerizing, enthralling highs all the time. His brain’s natural chemistry gave Xavier a gear was a full-color symphony of creativity putting his entire 150+ IQ to work. He lived in an exuberant, exciting creative flow all the time.
The danger of the disease was that the creativity was so intense that it would always accelerate to a point that it spun out of control. The cure for the disease was to take a medication that would simply drug that creativity away and leave him listless, lethargic and grey. For years we all tried to search for a drug that would not grey out his world so dramatically, but there were none.
A brilliant and creative soul was always forced to choose between a safe, grey, world that left without the will even to exercise, or a full life of creativity, activity and intellectual insights that always led to danger and hospitalization. There was no middle ground.
But he kept fighting and kept building. Two years later, during one of his first episodes with this horrible disease at age 16, he was involuntarily held at a pediatric psych ward in Tacoma. He instantly became friends with the staff and was bored out of his mind. He decided that lockdown was not appropriate and that the staff should let him leave the secure ward each day so he could walk to the nearby college and take classes. In classic Xavier style, he pitched this crazy never-been-done idea to his doctors and THEY AGREED. And for the next quarter, he walked back and forth without issue and got straight A’s. It is now an option for other gifted children in the ward.
Through his many manic breaks, he saw how cold and unfeeling the mental health system for those caught up in it and he applied to be a voice for youth on a Washington state panel for mental health. THEY ACCEPTED HIM.
Then he applied to be a certified Peer Support Specialist in the state of Washington and got all of the training necessary to ride along with first responders when there were mental health calls for younger adults. He would be there as their advocate, as their peers and make the interaction with the police kinder and more empathetic. Only 25% of the applicants passed the test, and Xavier was one of them.
But this was Xavier, so that wasn’t enough. Through his many hospitalizations, he saw how lonely and cold life was for his fellow patients. He saw how the mental health system has no regard for patients once they discharge them. As a matter of practical management, patients are kept under strict and controlled lockdown until they are deemed safe enough not to hurt themselves and then they are summarily discharged. For all intents and purposes, there are no supports: no help with getting housing or finding a job or getting back on food stamps. Many of his fellow patients just wound up sleeping under a bridge the day after they were discharged because they had no access to resources or support.
Xavier knew he had access to resources and supports and was determined to help them---all of them. He reached out to everyone he knew with two plans: one was a simple, free app to connect and support people and their families. He had drawn up a basic blueprint of the app and had found existing apps with similar features. He called the owners of those apps and was in discussions with them even last week.
On an even bigger scale, he planned to design, finance and build transitional, supportive housing for those discharged from the mental health system. The idea was simple, elegant and obvious. Instead of going from a fully locked-down, fully overseen level of care (costing taxpayers $800+ per night) to….nothing, Xavier would organize a drive to build housing that scaled mental health treatment down in intensity: 1) acute care 2) monitored housing with nurses and social workers 3) group home with monitoring and vocational help. With such a program, the transition would be smoother and patients could land on their feet.
The design is an obvious solution to a huge national problem, and almost no state does anything like it. Hospitals could discharge patients earlier into a scaled-down ward. Beds for more serious cases would open up. Patients would remain stable longer and get integrated into society more smoothly leading to far less re-admissions. After years of discussing it, we were planning on formally pitching it to hospitals and Olympia this spring.
It would have worked. It’s desperately needed, and we know it will work eventually.
And while Xavier won’t be here with us here on earth to help us move his dream forward, he is now free from that awful trade-off between the brilliant, colorful kaleidoscope and a cold dreary world. He can dive right into his creativity; enjoy that stunning intellect without fear; and help us move his dream forward. And, like everywhere he was, he will have left the world a better place for having suffered in it.
Above all, Xavier was a devout and faithful Catholic. He loved Truth and loved the beauty of True Traditional Catholic Church. He had a special devotion to the angels, and to Saint Ignatius Loyola. He was so inspired by a book about Saint Francis of Assisi, that it was difficult to convince him not to give all his belongings away! He showed up coatless or shoeless on occasion having given the items to a homeless person he met on the way. Xavier wanted everyone he met to be saved. He would take anyone who would come with him to Mount Saint Michaels to pray, or to the cemetery or both. One thing that was constant, symptomatic or not, he profoundly loved the Catholic Church and loved Our Lord and Our Lady above all else.
Just 10 days before his death, Xavier called his mother about his elation at receiving the sacraments of confession and Holy Eucharist that day. He started a novena where he would go to the old Jesuit cemetery and Mount Saint Michael and pray the rosary for the men who had traveled from around the world to bring the faith to the Western New World. He died the day after this novena ended.
In his last weeks on this earth, he had a special devotion to the angels. He had just learned about the hierarchy of angels and was taken with their beauty and militaristic order. He conceived of the Ordo Angelorum and he approached his mother (and anyone who would listen!) with the concept of an earthly society devoted to the angels. He read in the passage in scripture that directly follows the Epistle for the Feast of All Saints:
God's People will Be Preserved
1After these things, I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that they should not blow upon the earth, nor upon the sea, nor on any tree. 2And I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the sign of the living God; and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, 3Saying: Hurt not the earth, nor the sea, nor the trees, till we sign the servants of our God in their foreheads.
The Seventh Seal
1And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven, as it were for half an hour. 2And I saw seven angels standing in the presence of God; and there were given to them seven trumpets.
3And another angel came, and stood before the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given to him much incense, that he should offer of the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar, which is before the throne of God. 4And the smoke of the incense of the prayers of the saints ascended up before God from the hand of the angel. 5And the angel took the censer, and filled it with the fire of the altar, and cast it on the earth, and there were thunders and voices and lightnings, and a great earthquake.
Xavier saw that the angels themselves were put in charge of the chastisement. Ordo Angelorum would be a society of the faithful on Earth who would, as a group, implore the angels to warn God’s people, and to spare them. The Society of Ordo Angelorum would pray to the angles to lead people of good will to the Truth of the Catholic Faith before it is too late. Xavier’s dream of Ordo Angelorum will be realized at ordoangelorum.org. The faithful are asked to recite the exorcism prayer to Saint Michael once per day with the intention that men of good will be warned and spared during inevitable chastisement, and that the number of God’s faithful will increase.
(As Xavier’s last project was a sort of celestial warning system, it is probably not a coincidence that right after he received last rites and passed into eternity, while his family and priest were standing outside his door, a fire alarm went off somewhere non-stop. Within hours of Xavier’s death, the fire alarm at Mount Saint Michael’s went off, and the next day, fire alarms in his oldest friend’s building inexplicably kept going off all day!)
By the fall of 2020, his mania started to present itself again and Xavier was back in the hospital. Once again, he missed Thanksgiving and Christmas with his family. The regression hit him very hard, and he never really recovered. The medication that was so crucial to keeping him grounded didn’t have its previous efficacy. The constant fight between the real Xavier, and manic Xavier was exhausting. He may have taken more and more medication in an effort to “come down to earth”, and on the night of January 26th, he apparently choked on a piece of gum in his sleep while sedated. By the grace of Almighty God alone, his mother found him unconscious in his apartment. Paramedic teams worked on Xavier for an hour to no avail. In the end Father Casimir Puskorius administered Extreme Unction right before his death.
God works in mysterious ways isn’t just a saying, it has been proved over and over through the course of history. Maybe Xavier’s illness was God’s way of limiting the guilt of sin and therefore allowing Xavier to ascend to heaven without spending time in Purgatory. God knows that Xavier’s suffering in this world was tremendous.
There is no arguing that Xavier had more than his fair share of faults, but these came primarily from his illness, or his medication. In the times that he his true self was able to be revealed, he was an absolute delight. He was charming and witty, respectful and thoughtful. It was impossible not to laugh along with his infectious laugh. It was impossible to be depressed if you spent anytime with him as everyone would get carried away with his energy. He could be so silly that he would keep his sisters on the phone for hours just telling stupid jokes. His energy and personality drew everyone in within earshot. He was a friend to the friendless, a champion of the voiceless and dearly loved by all who knew him well.
Due to Xavier’s illness, his family all feared an untimely passing, but it is still a shock and their loss is deeply felt. His family’s consolation is that he died with the last rites with his mother and his beloved Father Casimir by his side. He was brilliant, adventurous, fearless and had the biggest heart of anyone we have ever known. There will never be another Xavier, that is for sure. He is now running our “earthly logistics” from his celestial vantage point, which is far clearer than his vision while living. Rest in peace at last, dearest son, loving brother, and devoted friend.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Anthony Xavier Kasbar, please visit our floral store.