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Friday, January 8, 2010

Saint Francis de Sales

Feast Day: January 24
Patron Saint of Journalists, Writers

Francis de Sales was born to a wealthy family in France in 1567. His parents intended for him to become a lawyer, but Francis believed he is pre-destined to be a priest.

During the time of the Protestant reformation (1517-1648), Francis decided to go to Switzerland then a Calvinist territory, to convert around 60,000 Calvinists back to Catholicism. Everyone thought this to be an absurd plan that even his father refused to help him.  By the time he left, he only got one supporter - his cousin.

They trudged through the countryside enduring the bitter winter and patiently evangelizing from district to district.  Doors shut in their faces and rocks thrown at them.  After three years with not a single convert, his cousin left him alone.

Francis kept on praying and continually searched for ways to reach the people.  As no one would even open their doors to him, he wrote out his sermons, made several copies of it and slipped them under the doors. These tracts consist of the leading dogmas of the Church and the logical reasoning behind the teachings of the Church. This first recorded religious tracts were later collected and printed in a volume called Catholic Controversy: St. Francis De Sales Defense of the Faith

By the time Francis left to go back to France, he is said to have converted 40,000 Calvinists back to Catholicism.

In 1602, Francis was made bishop of the diocese of Geneva, another Calvinist territory.
 He believed that the foremost duty of a bishop was spiritual direction.  Francis gave spiritual direction to lay people and proved with his own life that people can grow in holiness even when they are not called for “religious life”.  To keep his flock strong in faith he wrote books such as Introduction to Devout Life, Treatise on the Devout Life and Treatise of the Love of God.   Francis advice to busy people is to "Retire at various times into the solitude of your own heart, even while outwardly engaged in discussions or transactions with others and talk to God."

Through his zeal and kind preaching he brought encouragement and guidance to innumerable persons, one of whom was St. Jane Frances de Chantal.


St. Francis de Sales love for God enabled him to surpass all the obstacles, even conquering his own temper and impatience.  He was convinced of the existence of God and the teachings of the Church instituted by Christ that he defended God and His Church amidst all the difficulties and seemingly hopeless efforts.  He shared this love with others by patiently bringing people to God and accompanying them on their spiritual journey so that they too will experience and see for themselves this wonderful, awesome God.

Please feel free to share your reflections/inputs/insights in the comment box.  Thank you and God bless

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1 comment:

  1. "Make yourself a seller when you are buying, and a buyer when you are selling, and then you will sell and buy justly" - St. Francis de Sales