St. Francis de Sales was born on August 21, 1567 at Thonon, near Annecy in France. He graduated from the University of Padua with Doctorate in both civil law and ecclesiastical law. He was ordained a priest on December 18, 1593. He worked among the Calvinists, faced much opposition, including attempt on his life and converted the whole district of Chablais to the Catholic faith.
He was ordained a bishop on December 8, 1602. He was a good shepherd, caring for all with a special love for the poor. He founded a contemplative religious order, “The Sisters of the Visitation” on June 6, 1610. This order was to accept as members the poor, the weak in health, the handicapped and the widows whom normally religious orders did not admit.
He wrote two books. Spiritual Classics: ‘The Introduction to Devout Life” and “A Treatise on The Love Of God”. He died at the age of 55 on December 28, 1622. He was canonized a saint by Pope Alexander VII on April 19, 1665 and declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius IX on November 16, 1877.
St. Francis de Sales is foremost among those who were consistently and visibly human in his relationship to God and people. His spirituality was so human that those without theological insights could understand and follow his spirituality. He radiated divine light through humanness like his master Jesus. He was very human and gentle, optimistic and positive about life and the world, strong in character and compassionate in ministry and most of all he had a harmonious and peaceful spirit.
“Go courageously to do whatever you are called to do.” This reflects the attitude with which St. Francis de Sales lived and guided his life. He encouraged people to find holiness in every day matters, emphasizing the freedom each one has to choose to be good and to do good, to live noble and virtuous lives and reject what is bad and harmful. In whatever state of life men and women find themselves, they can discover the way to God, joyfully and without fear. God can be found anywhere, everywhere and by everyone. The hours we spend in our daily chores need not be spiritually empty or useless. It is in the daily chores that we live out our life of faith.
NOTHING IS SO STRONG AS GENTLENESS, NOTHING SO GENTLE AS REAL STRENGTH.
St. Francis de Sales