June 16

St. John Francis Regis

St. John Francis Regis

John Francis Regis was born on 31 January 1597 in France. He is alsoknown as Jean-Francis Regis. He is a notable figure in Christianity forthe works he did throughout his life. John Francis Regis was also aFrench priest of the Society of Jesus and a saint of the Roman CatholicChurch.

Life and Works of John Francis Regis

John Francis Regis was born of a noble family. His father, Jean Regis,gained his nobility through his good works during the Wars of League. Onthe other hand, his mother, Marguerite de Cugunhan, was born ofnobility.

He attended the Jesuit College of Beziers. At the age of just 19 yearsold, 8 December 1616, he entered the Jesuit novitiate at Toulouse. 2years after this, he took his vows. Once he took his vows, he took acourse in rhetoric in Cahors.

Following completion of this course in Cahors, John Francis Regis tookup several teaching posts at colleges, where he taught grammar tostudents. The colleges in which he took up teaching posts includedBillom (1619-1622), Puy-en-Valey (1625-1627) and Auch (1627-1628).

Furthering his love for studying, while taking up his teaching posts, hestudied philosophy at the scholasticate in Tournon. While teachinggrammar, John Francis Regis realized his intense love for teaching andpreaching the word of God. He also had an intense desire to save as manysouls as he possibly could.

As a result of this realization and intense desire, John Francis Regisundertook theological studies at Toulouse in 1628. At the age of 31, in1630, he was ordained as a priest. In the following year, he made histertianship.

In the summer of 1631, John Francis Regis began his apostolic career. Hespent most of his time serving those less fortunate than he was. Whenthe bubonic plague hit Toulouse, he undertook to care for several of thevictims.

He had settled himself and made the Jesuit College in Montpellier hisheadquarters to work from. He utilized this space as his headquartersfrom May 1632 to September 1634. Here, he worked tirelessly in manyaspects of the life in this area, with his biggest project being theconversion of the French Huguenots.

Other work he undertook, while having the Jesuit College as hisheadquarters, included assisting the needy, withdrawing from vicewayward women and girls, as well as preaching the Catholic doctrine tochildren and the poor. His most notable works is the work he did for atrisk women and orphans.

To assist the at-risk women and orphans in the area, safehouses werebuilt and jobs were given to them. He also established theConfraternity of the Blessed Sacrament. This was a charitableorganization that was run by John Francis Regis. They collected food andmoney from the wealthy and distributed it to those in need.

Furthermore, several hostels for prostitutes were established. In thesehostels, John Francis Regis trained the women to become lace-makers.This provided them with a source of income and prevented them from beingexploited.

In 1633, the local bishop invited Regis to the Diocese of Viviers. Here,he was tasked with evangelizing several districts, more than 50 to beexact. These districts were in le Vivarais, le Forez and le Velay.

His hard work in these districts proved to be successful and he reapedthe benefits of this hard work. He took a simple and direct preachingstyle. As a result of this, many uneducated people of the peasantry grewfond of him and several of them converted.

His good works were often seen as arrogance by other priests. As aresult of this, conflicts often emerged with other priests and there wasa period of tension with the local bishop. The conflict often resultedin violence, which John Francis Regis condemned.

The Death of John Francis Regis

At the young age of 49, John Francis Regis passed away from pneumonia on31 December 1640. He was canonized by Pope Clement XI in Rome, on 5April 1737. He is now the patron saint of lacemakers, illegitimatechildren and medical social workers in the Catholic Church.

5 Interesting Facts About St. John Francis Regis

  1. On 18 May 1716, John Francis Regis was beatified by Pope Clement
  2. There is an altar dedicated to him in Cathedrale Notre-Dame du
  3. He walked on foot from town to town, spreading the word of God.
  4. His legacy lives on with several schools and universities named
    after him. These include Regis University and Regis High School in New
  5. He spent many hours of the night in prayer basking in heavenly
    delights, and he was often taken outside of his body.

Prayer to St. John Francis Regis

O God, whose priest, Saint John Francis Regis, a friend of the poor, thesick, and the wayward, eagerly desired to evangelize the peoples ofNorth America; grant, we ask, that we who serve You in his place may befilled with his same spirit of zeal.