Francis de Sales
St. Francis of Sales
St. Francis of Sales was born in the Savoy region of France in 1567.
He studied philosophy and theology in Paris and took a degree in civil and ecclesiastical law at Padua.
After his priestly ordination, he offered his services to the bishop as a missionary to bring back the Calvinists of the Chablais region to the Catholic faith. He was made bishop of Geneva, though he had to reside at Annecy, and was zealous in preaching and putting into effect the reforms of the Council of Trent.
Endowed with a noble, penetrating spirit and well versed in learned humanism, he was an excellent spiritual director. He opened up to everyone the paths of asceticism (Introduction to the Devout Life) by showing that the essence of the spiritual life lies in the love of God (Treatise of the Love of God).
Together with St. Jane de Chantal, he founded and directed the Order of the Visitation.
He died in Lyons on 28th December 1622. His feastday on 24th January marks the anniversary of the transfer of his remains to Annecy on 24th January 1623.
Canonised in 1665 and proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1877, he was declared the patron of Catholic journalists and writers in 1923. Don Bosco took inspiration from St. Francis of Sales’s apostolate, from his kindly goodness, from his humanity and wanted him as the patron of the Salesian Society.