St. Francis de Sales
Saint Francois Bonaventura De Sales, Also stylized as FrancisBonaventure De Sales, was born to a noble family in the Chateau DeSales, Duchy of Savoy. He was born on the 21st of August 1567 toFrancois De Sales and Françoise De Soinnaz.
His father was Lord of Sales and his mother was the only child ofMelchior de Sionnaz, one of the most distinguished Magistrates at thattime. This couple however would go on to adopt the last name ‘De Boisy’
Saint Francis De Sales was born two months premature by his teenagemother but this did nothing to deter his physical and mental growth. Hewas baptized as Francis Bonaventura in honor of two saints and after hisgodparents François de la Fléchère and Damoiselle Bonaventure deChevron-Villett, his grandmother.
Being one of the most respected families around, Saint Francis’ parentswere rich enough to send him to the best schools in France. As the firstof 6 six children, his father wanted him to pursue a career in law,following in his footsteps.
As a young boy, Saint Francis was kind, gentle, and was more interestedin religion more than anything else. He was devoted to his scripturesand was dedicated to supporting the poor and helpless. To please hisfather, however, he said nothing of his religious dedication and carriedon with his education.
Saint Francis was sent to the best schools and got the best education atthat time. His first initiation to formal education took place inLa-Roche-Sur-Foron. At the tender age of eight, he was sent to collegein Annecy.
Now nurturing religious plans, Francis De Sales attended a Jesuitcollege in 1578. The institution was called the College De Clermont andthere, he studied rhetoric and humanities.
A quiet young man, he kept his quest for devotion a secret and continuedto study. He also took up riding, dancing, and fencing training toplease his father.
Saint Francis attended a theological seminary circa 1586 where he wasconvinced he was damned to hell. This thought made him depressed andphysically ill until 1587 where he visited a Church Parish. He prayed tothe Blessed Virgin and consecrated himself.
Dedication and Devotion
Saint Francis remained devout to God but carried on with his studies.After completing his education at Clermont, he went on to Italy toenroll in the University of Padua.
There he studied law and theology and seeked Priest Antonio Possevino tobe his spiritual guide.
He received his Doctorate at Padua in 1592 and had finally made up hismind to become a Priest.
Back at home, he started work as a lawyer while his father tried to pullstrings in Francis’ political favor. He was also bequeathed to a richheiress whom he turned down to his father’s dismay. Finally, he let hisfather know that he had decided to pursue ecclesiastical duties insteadof political ones.
His Father was very unimpressed however his cousin supported him andhelped him get the post of the provost. Francis signed over hisbirthright to his younger brother and was ordained in 1593.
Saint Francis De Sales carried out his religious duties with so muchhumility and patience. He ministered at the Cathedral of Annecy whichwas 20 miles away from his residence.
He went around to preach the gospel and win souls for Christ. He wasshunned and sent away by many but never gave up. At the young age of 27,he was elected Grand Penitentiary of the diocese.
In 1954, Saint Francis was asked to take on a rather difficultassignment. On the instruction of the Duke of Savoy, Francis was sent toChamblais.
Accompanied by his cousin Canon Louis, Saint Francis De Sales set off tospread the Good News all over Chamblais.
There they were antagonized by Geneva ministers. He escaped death somany times. It was in those times he met and befriended a widow.
Saint Francis made it a point to always split his possessions with thepoor. It didn’t matter if it was food, cloth, or money.
It was at Chablais that he started to use written pamphlets to ministerto the townspeople. Where the door was shut in his face, he simplyslipped pamphlets underneath and left.
Saint Francis was elected coadjutor bishop in 1599. Circa 1602, he wassent out to negotiate the re-establishment of a Catholic Church withHenry IV of France.
When Bishop Granier died in 1602, Saint Francis De Sales was ordainedBishop. He was methodical and passionate, and a lot was achieved underhis diocese. He began to grow in respect and popularity.
During his papacy, he worked with the Order of Friar Minor Capuchin andwas made an official associate of the Order.
In his time, Saint Francis also wrote books that we’re acknowledged asimportant works on the human spiritual life. He was co-founder of theOrder of the Visitation of Holy Mary which was established in 1610.
Saint Francis De Sales also built The Oratory of Saint Philip Neri whichdied out after his death.
Death and Canonization
Saint Francis De Sales died of a stroke on the 28th of December. He diedin Lyon, France, during a Christmas tour.
Saint Francis was buried on the 24th of January 1623 in the Church ofAnnecy where he was venerated after death. His heart was kept in Lyonfor some time before it was taken to Venice by the visitation nunsduring the revolution.
He was beatified by Pope Alexander VII on January 8, 1661, as wascanonized by St. Francis de Sales on April 19, 1665.
Pope Pius IX proclaimed him Doctor of the Church in 1877.
Saint Francis de Sales is celebrated by the Roman Catholic Church on 24January. He is also honored in the Church of England on the same day.
5 Interesting Facts About St. Francis de Sales
- Did you know that Saint Francis is known as the patron saint of
authors, journalists, and deaf people?
- Did you know that Saint Francis is considered the first preacher to
use pamphlets to preach the word?
- Did you know that Saint Francis de Sales is called “The Gentleman
Saint” because of his patience and meekness?
- Did you know that Saint Francis gave spiritual guidance to people
through letters? He read and replied to all letters regardless of
- Did you know that Saint Francis wished to go into solitude but could
not because the people demanded his presence?
Prayer of St. Francis de Sales
Be at PeaceDo not look forward in fear to the changes of life;rather look to them with full hope as they arise.God, whose very own you are,will deliver you from out of them.He has kept you hitherto,and He will lead you safely through all things;and when you cannot stand it,God will bury you in his arms.Do not fear what may happen tomorrow;the same everlasting Father who cares for you todaywill take care of you then and every day.He will either shield you from suffering,or will give you unfailing strength to bear it.Be at peace,and put aside all anxious thoughts and imagination.