Saint Francis de Sales


Saint Francis de Sales, 1567-1622

January 24

Saint Francis de Sales was born into a noble French family and was extremely well educated. As a young man, he worried that he might not get to Heaven, but once he was convinced that God is love, his worries left him. He began to devote his life to teaching other people about God’s love. His way of teaching is sometimes called the Way of Divine Love.

Saint Francis’ father wanted him to go into the army or politics, but Francis decided to become a priest and refused to marry the wealthy girl his father had chosen for his wife. He eventually was ordained and was sent to Geneva, Switzerland in 1593. A few years later, he was named the Bishop of Geneva. The people of the city loved him for his care for the poor, his gentle nature, and his great wisdom.

Saint Francis lived at a time when the Church faced many problems because of the Protestant Reformation, but he always urged people to treat one another with kindness even if they disagreed.

One of his best friends was Saint Jane Frances de Chantal. Together they founded an order of nuns called the Visitation of Holy Mary. Francis was declared a Saint in 1665. In 1877 Blessed Pope Pius IX named him a Doctor of the Church for his teachings. One of his most famous books is called Introduction to the Devout Life. In it he explains how an ordinary person can lead a holy life. Even today, many people read his book and follow his advice. 

Discuss: Why do you think Saint Francis’ kind and gentle manner appealed to people?

The Prayer of Saint Francis de Sales

Teach the young people the Prayer of Saint Francis de Sales.

The Prayer of Saint Francis de Sales

Be at Peace
Do not look forward in fear to the changes of life;
rather look to them with full hope as they arise.
God, whose very own you are,
will deliver you from out of them.
He has kept you hitherto,
and He will lead you safely through all things;
and when you cannot stand it,
God will bury you in his arms. 

Do not fear what may happen tomorrow;
the same everlasting Father who cares for you today
will take care of you then and everyday.
He will either shield you from suffering,
or will give you unfailing strength to bear it.
Be at peace,
and put aside all anxious thoughts and imagination.

St. Francis de Sales, 1567-1622