- Francis de Sales
: "This article is about the Roman Catholic saint. For churches named after him, see
Saint Francis de Sales church."Infobox Saint
name=Saint Francis de Sales
24 January 29 January( General Roman Calendar, 1666-1969)
Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism
caption=Saint Francis de Sales
Château de Thorens, Savoy
titles=Bishop, Confessor and Doctor of the Church
8 January 1662
Pope Alexander VII
19 April 1665
canonized_by=Pope Alexander VII
attributes=Heart of Jesus,
Crown of Thorns
Baker, Oregon; Cincinnati, Ohio; Catholic press; Columbus, Ohio; confessors; deaf people; educators; Upington, South Africa; Wilmington, Delaware; writers; journalists
prayer=O love eternal, my soul needs and chooses you eternally!
Ah, come Holy Spirit, and inflame our hearts with your love!
To love -- or to die!
To die -- and to love!
To die to all other love in order to live in Jesus' love, so that we may not die eternally;
but that we may live in your eternal love, O Savior of our souls, we eternally sing, "Live, Jesus!
Jesus, I love!
Live, Jesus, whom I love!
Jesus, I love, Jesus who lives and reigns forever and ever.
prayer_attrib=Treatise on the Love of God by Saint Francis de Sales
Saint Francis de Sales (in French, St François de Sales) (
21 August 1567– 28 December 1622) was bishopof Geneva, Switzerland and a Roman Catholic saint. He worked to convert Protestants back to Catholicism, and was an accomplished preacher. He is known also for his writings on the topic of spiritual direction and spiritual formation (including " Introduction to the Devout Life"), and other religious subjects.
De Sales was
beatifiedby Pope Alexander VIIin 1661 and canonizedby the same pontiff in 1665. He was declared a Doctor of the Churchby Blessed Pius IX in 1877. [cite web | url=http://www.ewtn.com/library/MARY/DESALES.htm | title=St. Francis de Sales, Bishop, Doctor of the Church | work=Lives of Saints | publisher= EWTN| author=John J. Crawley | accessdate=2008-01-14]
Childhood and youth
Francis de Sales was born at
Château de Thorensinto a Savoyard noble family in what is today France. His father was François de Boisy and his mother was Françoise de Sionnz. The first of twelve children, he enjoyed a privileged education in La Rocheand Annecy; his spiritual formation and academics were formed by the Jesuits (The Society of Jesus). His father only wanted him to attend the best schools. In 1578 at the age of 12 he went to the Collège de Clermont in Paris. A year later Francis was engulfed in a personal crisis when after attending a theological discussion about predestinationbecame convinced that he was damned to Hell. In December 1586 his despair was so great that he was physically ill and even bedridden for a time. In January 1587 he visited the Church of Saint-Etienne des Grès (St. Stephen) with great difficulty. There his crisis ended, and he decided to dedicate his life to God. Francis came to the conclusion that whatever God had in store for him was good, because God is Love, as Scripture attests. This faithful devotion to the God of love not only expelled his doubts, but also influenced the rest of his life and his teachings. His way of teaching Catholic spirituality is often referred to as the Way of Divine Love, or the Devout Life (the Holy Life), taken from a book he wrote of a similar name: "Introduction to the Devout Life. "
In 1588 Francis transferred from The University of Paris in
Paristo the University of Paduawhere he studied both lawand Theology. There he made up his mind about becoming a priest. Intelligent and handsome, DeSales went through various conversion experiences that moved his heart to serve God rather than money or the world. One incident included his sword falling to the ground while riding a horse, and crossing another sword, making the sign of The Cross. DeSales took this, among other signs, that Christ was calling him to a life of sacrifice and self-giving love for The Church.
In 1592 he ended his studies with the promotion to doctor certified in both Law and Theology. He made the pilgrimage to
LoretoItaly, famous for its Shrine to the Virgin Mary, before going home. At home his father had already secured a variety of positions for his son, one of which was a position on the Senate of Chambéry. It was difficult for Francis's father to accept that his son had already chosen a vocation rather than a career.
After studying the humanities,
rhetoric, theology, and lawat La Roche, Annecy, Paris, and Padua, he famously refused to marry the wealthy heiress his father had chosen as his bride, preferring a clerical career. The intervention of Claude de Granier, then bishop of Geneva, won him ordination and appointment as provost of the cathedral chapter of Geneva in 1593.
The Old Faith
Reformation, the seat of the bishops of Geneva had been located at Annecyin Savoy, due to Calvinistcontrol of Geneva itself. Francis, in his capacity as provost, engaged in enthusiastic campaigns of evangelism among the Protestantsof Savoy, winning many returns to the Old Faith. He also traveled to Romeand Paris, where he forged alliances with Pope Clement VIIIand the French King Henry IV.
St. Francis developed a sign language in order to teach a deaf man about God. Because of this, he is the patron saint of the deaf.
In 1602, Bishop Granier died, and Francis was consecrated bishop of Geneva himself. During his years as bishop, he garnished a reputation as a spellbinding preacher and something of an
ascetic; in particular, he was known as a friend of the poor, a man of almost supernatural affability and understanding. These last qualities come through wonderfully in his famous books. He died on 28 December 1622in Lyon, while he travelled in the entourage of Charles Emmanuel I, Dukeof Savoy.
St. Francis de Sales was
beatifiedin 1661 by Pope Alexander VII, who then canonizedhim in 1665. In 1877, Blessed Pius IX declared him a Doctor of the Universal Church. The Roman Catholic Church today celebrates his feast on 24 January, the day of his burial in Annecyin 1624. ["Calendarium Romanum" (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 1969), p. 115] From 1666, when his feast day was inserted in the General Roman Calendar, until 1969 it was observed on 29 January.
Pope Pius XIproclaimed him a patron of writers and journalists, because of the books he wrote, the most famous of which was "Introduction à la vie dévote" (" Introduction to the Devout Life"). He also left the mystical "Traité de l' Amour de Dieu" (" Treatise on the Love of God") and many highly valued letters of spiritual direction. He was a notably clear and gracious stylist in French, Italian and Latin.
St Francis de Sales is buried at the
basilicaof the Visitation, Annecy. Many miracles have been reported at his shrine. The relicof his heart was kept at Lyon, whence during the French Revolutionit was moved to Venice, where it is venerated today.
Saint Jane Frances de Chantal, Francis founded the women's Order of the Visitation of Holy Maryin Annecy on 6 June 1610.
The order of the
Salesians of Don Bosco, founded by St John Bosco in 1859 (approved by the Holy Seein 1874), is named after him. Likewise the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales(OSFS), founded by Louis Brissonand the Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales, founded by Peter Mermier in 1830.
St. Françoisis named in honor of Francis de Sales. DeSales University, located in Center Valley, PA (formerly Allentown College of St. Francis de Sales), is named for St. Francis de Sales and is a Catholic liberal arts college administered by the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales.
Salesianum School, an all boys private school in Wilmington, Delaware, which is named after him, is also run by the
Oblates of St. Francis de Sales.
François de Sales is recognized as exemplary in the
Church of England, where his "memoria" is also on 24 January, and in the Church in Wales, when his memorial is moved to 23 January, due to a conflict with St Cadoc.
*"Introduction to the Devout Life (Translated and Edited by John K. Ryan)", Doubleday, 1972. ISBN 978-0-385-03009-0
*"Set Your Heart Free (Edited by John Kirvan)", Ave Maria Press, 2008. ISBN 978-1-59471-153-4
* [http://www.franz-von-sales.de International Commission on Salesian Studies] All about St. Francis de Sales worldwide
* [http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=51 Francis de Sales bio at Catholic.org]
* [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06220a.htm Catholic Encyclopedia: "St. Francis de Sales"]
* [http://www.saintpetersbasilica.org/Statues/Founders/FrancisdeSales/Francis%20de%20Sales.htm Founder Statue in St Peter's Basilica]
* [http://secure.avemariapress.com/itemdetail.cfm?nItemid=923 "Set Your Heart Free"] 30 Days with a Great Spiritual teacher, edited by John Kirvan
* [http://www.ccel.org/ccel/desales/devout_life.html "Introduction To The Devout Life"]
* [http://www.archive.org/details/introductiontode00franuoft Better Translation of the book, "Introduction to the Devout Life]
* [http://www.ccel.org/ccel/desales/love/Page_Index.html "Treatise on the Love of God"]
* [http://www.memoware.com/?screen=doc_detail&doc_id=18376 "The Catholic Controversy"]
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