Saint of the Day – 29 January – St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Bishop, Confessor, Doctor of the Church – Doctor Caritatis (Doctor of Charity) “The Gentle Christ of Geneva” and the “Gentleman Saint.”
From the Office of the Church
for the Feast, of St Francis de Sales.
Francis was born of pious and noble parents, in the town of Sales, from which the family took their name. From his earliest years, he gave pledge of his future sanctity by the innocence and gravity of his conduct. Having been instructed in the liberal sciences during his youth, he was sent early to Paris that he might study Philosophy and Theology and, in order that his education might be complete, he was sent to Padua, where he took, with much honour, the degree of Doctor in both Civil and Canon Law. He visited the Sanctuary of Loreto, where he renewed the vow he had already taken in Paris, of perpetual virginity, in which holy resolution he continued till death, in spite of all the temptations of the devil and all the allurements of the flesh.
He refused to accept an honourable position in the Senate of Savoy and entered into the Ecclesiastical state. He was Ordained Priest and was made Provost of the Diocese of Geneva, which charge he so laudably fulfilled that Granier, his Bishop, selected him for the arduous undertaking of labouring, by the preaching of God’s Word, for the conversion of the Calvinists of Chablais and the neighbouring country round about Geneva.
This mission he undertook with much joy. He had to suffer the harshest treatment on the part of the heretics, who frequently sought to take away his life, caluminated him and laid all kinds of plots against him. But, he showed heroic courage in the midst of all these dangers and persecutions and by the Divine assistance, converted, as it is stated, seventy-two thousand heretics to the One True Catholic Faith, among whom were many distinguished by the high position they held in the world and by their learning.
After the death of Granier, who had already made him his Co-adjutor, he was made Bishop of Geneva. Then it was that his sanctity showed itself in every direction, by his zeal for Ecclesiastical discipline, his love of peace, his charity to the poor and every virtue.
From a desire to give more honour to God, he founded a new Order of Nuns, which he called the Visitation, taking for their Rule that of St Augustine, to which he added Constitutions of admirable wisdom and sweetness. He enlightened the children of the Church by the works he wrote, which are full of a heavenly wisdom and pointed out a path, which is at once safe and easy, to christian perfection.
In his fifty-fifth year, whilst returning from France to Annecy, he was taken with his last sickness, immediately after having celebrated Mass, on the Feast of St. John the Evangelist. On the following day, his soul departed this life for Heaven, in the year of our Lord 1622. His body was taken to Annecy and was buried, with great demonstration of honour, in the Church of the Nuns of the above mentioned Order. Immediately after his death, miracles began to be wrought through his intercession, which, being officially authenticated, he was Canonised by Pope Alexander the Seventh and his Feast was appointed to be kept on the twenty ninth day of January.
You must be logged in to post a comment.