Francis de Sales – Saint

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Saint Francis de Sales
France (1567–1622)
Beatified: 1662
Canonized: 1665
Patron: journalists and writers
Feast day: January 24

Despite his father’s discouragement, Francis de Sales pursued the virtuous order of religious life early on. After ordination, he served as a missionary to the Lake Geneva region, an area that had fallen to the radical Calvinist Protestants. With the help of pamphlets explaining the Catholic faith, Father Francis recatechized the region of Chablis.

Upon the death of the Bishop of Geneva, Father Francis was named his successor. He continued to work to reeducate people about the Catholic faith and authored The Introduction to the Devout Life, a practical guide for Catholics to give up old sinful habits and bring them in closer union with God.

The guide is still used in spiritual direction and read by those who want to advance in the spiritual life. Along with then-Sister Jane Frances de Chantal, Francis founded the Visitation Sisters of Holy Mary. He also established a congregation of men known as the Oblates of Saint Francis de Sales, who were devoted to preaching parish missions-retreats, staffing colleges, and working in parishes.

His legacy had a powerful influence on other men and women in the centuries that followed, including Saint John Bosco, founder of a congregation dedicated to the education of poor boys. This community, the Salesians, follows the spirituality of Saint Francis de Sales. Francis de Sales was canonized in 1665 and was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1877 .

His body was laid at rest in the Visitation Convent in Annecy next to Saint Jane Frances de Chantal. When his body was exhumed in 1632, it was in perfect condition, but in subsequent years only the bones were found. Today, Saint Francis de Sales can be venerated at the Basilica of the Visitation in Annecy, where his bones are placed under bishop’s clothing and a wax mask covers his face.

Last updated: March 21, 2013 at 21:44 pm

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