Wednesday, 24 January 2007

Happy Feast Day!

Today is the Feast of St Francis de Sales, Patron of Writers.

Born in a castle to a well-placed family, his parents intended that he become a lawyer, enter politics, and carry on the family line and power. Studied at La Roche, Annecy, Clermont College in Paris, and law at the University of Padua. Doctor of Law. He returned home, and found a position as Senate advocate.

It was at this point that he received a message telling him to "Leave all and follow Me." He took this as a call to the priesthood, a move his family fiercely opposed. However, he pursued a devoted prayer life, and his gentle ways won over the family.

Priest. Provost of the diocese of Geneva, Switzerland, a stronghold of Calvinists. Preacher, writer and spiritual director in the district of Chablais. His simple, clear explanations of Catholic doctrine, and his gentle way with everyone, brought many back to the Roman Church.

Bishop of Geneva at age 35. Travelled and evangelized throughout the Duchy of Savoy, working with children whenever he could. Friend of Saint Vincent de Paul. Turned down a wealthy French bishopric. Helped found the Order of the Visitation with Saint Jeanne de Chantal. Prolific correspondent. Doctor of the Church.

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