About St. Francis de Sales

Francis de Sales was born on August 21, 1567, to a noble family near Geneva. From his youth, he was groomed to claim his father's holdings, but he chose instead to pursue a vocation as a priest. First as a missionary and later as bishop, he earned a reputation as a sincere man of prayer, a prolific spiritual writer, and a humble shepherd. An accomplished and skillful stylist of the French language, Francis spent countless hours composing letters to the hundreds of people who sought his wisdom and guidance. At the top of each letter, he inscribed the words LIVE JESUS as a reminder to himself and his readers that we can find Christ in each moment of the day and in each person we meet. His most famous written work, Introduction to the Devout Life, was published in 1609 as a compilation of the teachings found in his letters. Francis wrote often of the value of friendship, and his greatest friend was Saint Jane de Chantal, a widow and mother who sought his advice and comfort following the tragic death of her husband. Their friendship restored her faith and inspired her to found the Sisters of the Visitation. Their shared vision of the Christian life is known as "Salesian Spirituality."

 

Francis died of complications from a stroke at age 55 on December 28, 1622. He was canonized in 1665, and later honored as a Doctor of the Church, a title given to saints whose teachings have profoundly influenced Christian thought and living. He is the patron saint of authors, journalists, and the deaf, a result of his ministry to a hearing-impaired man for whom he developed an original sign language. Known as the "Gentleman Saint," his unfailing optimism and faith in God's love continues to bring hope and inspiration to those who know his teachings. Saint Francis de Sales' Feast Day is January 24.

 

To learn more please visit the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales' website.