Born on August 21, 1567 at the Château de Sales near Thorens-Glières in Savoie, into a noble Catholic family, he was destined for a brilliant legal career. His father sent him to study in Paris. But he discovers there the theology and the problems of predestination, raised by the Calvinists. Scrupulous, he believes himself predestined to be damned. Despair overwhelms him until the day he discovers the "remember", the Marian prayer attributed to Saint Bernard. He finds peace and it will be one of the great messages of his life when he pacifies Saint Joan of Chantal, then when he will write his "Introduction to the devout life".
Priest, then bishop of Geneva, he lives in Annecy, because Geneva is the "Rome" of the Calvinists. He frequented the greatest Catholic minds of the time, introduced in France the reform of the Carmels initiated by Saint Thérèse of Avila, the foundation of the French Oratory by Pierre de Bérulle (1611) - the Oratory was founded in Rome in 1564 by Saint Philip Neri.
He himself founded the Order of Visitandines to bring religious life within the reach of women in poor health. His "introduction to the devout life" is a work which is addressed to each baptized person. He reminds us that every lay person can sanctify himself by joyfully doing his duty to the state, in which the will of God is expressed. He is the patron saint of journalists because he wrote many printed sheets which are "gazettes" to address the Calvinists whom he cannot meet.
Reliquary containing a relic of Saint Francis de Sales on Relics.es
He is the patron saint of deaf-mutes because he took under his protection for 17 years (until his death) the deaf-mute Martin, and patiently taught and catechized him himself.
François de Sales was ordained a priest in 1593 and bishop of Geneva in 1602, when the city was the bastion of Calvinism. "Apostle, preacher and writer, man of prayer and action...engaged in the debate with the Protestants, he experienced beyond the necessary theological controversy the effectiveness of personal relationships and charity". With Saint Jeanne de Chantal, he founded the Order of the Visitation, characterized by total consecration to God, in simplicity and humility. Francis de Sales died in 1622.In his Introduction to the Devout Life, he launched an invitation which might have seemed revolutionary for the time: "To be entirely with God and to live fully in the world the duties of one's state... This is how the appeal to the laity to pay attention to the consecration of temporal things and to the sanctification of daily life, on which the Second Vatican Council and contemporary spirituality insist".
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