St Francis de Sales – Feast Day – January 24 2024

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St Francis de Sales was also known as Franz von Sales.

He was the Bishop of Geneva.

He was born on August 21 1567 in Château de Thorens, Savoy, France and died on December 28 1622 in Lyon, France.

We celebrate his feast day on January 24 every year in the Catholic Church.

St Francis de Sales Biography
St Francis de Sales - Feast Day - January 24
St Francis de Sales – Feast Day – January 24 2024
Date of Birth August 21 1567
Place of Birth Château de Thorens, Savoy, France
Profession Bishop of Geneva
Place of Work France
Date of Death December 28 1622
Place of Death Lyon, France
Feast Day January 24
Beatification By Pope Alexander VII on January 8 1661 in Rome, Ialy
Canonization By Pope Alexander VII on April 8 1665 in Rome, Italy
Patron Saint of
  • Baker, Oregon
  • Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Catholic press
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Confessors
  • Deaf people
  • Educators
  • Upington, South Africa
  • Wilmington, Delaware
  • Writers
  • Journalists
  • The Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest

St Francis de Sales Life History

Francis de Sales, born prematurely on 21 August 1567 at Château de Sales in Thorens-Glières, Haute-Savoie, France, hailed from the noble Sales family in the Duchy of Savoy.

His father, François de Sales, held titles as Lord of Sales and Novel, and through marriage, de Boisy.

Françoise de Sionnaz, his mother, was the sole child of the notable magistrate Melchior de Sionnaz, Seigneur de Vallières, de la Thuile, and de Boisy.

Given the first of six sons, Francis was baptized as Francis Bonaventura, a name inspired by his godparents, François de la Fléchère and Damoiselle Bonaventure de Chevron-Villette, who was also his widowed maternal grandmother.

Despite his father’s desire for a legal career, Francis received a privileged education at La Roche-Sur-Foron and, from the age of eight, at the Capuchin college in Annecy.

In 1578, he enrolled at the Jesuit Collège de Clermont for rhetoric and humanities, accompanied by a servant and a priest tutor, Abbé Déage.

A theological discussion in 1586 on predestination led to a personal crisis, causing profound despair that lingered until December 1586.

This despair took a toll on his health, rendering him bedridden for a period. In late December or early January 1587, he sought solace at the parish of Saint-Étienne-des-Grès, Paris, where he prayed the “Memorare” before a renowned statue of Our Lady of Good Deliverance, a Black Madonna.

Subsequently, he dedicated his life to God, vowing chastity, and became a tertiary of the Minim Order.

Intelligent and gentle, Francis harbored a longstanding desire to serve God, concealing his vocation to the priesthood from his family.

Despite his father’s inclination towards law and politics, Francis remained steadfast in his commitment to his religious calling.

One day while riding, God revealed His will to Francis through a series of falls from his horse. Each fall resulted in the sword being drawn from its scabbard, forming a Christian cross as both sword and scabbard rested on the ground.

Despite disagreements with his father, Francis was eventually ordained to the priesthood and appointed provost of the Diocese of Geneva in 1593 by the Bishop of Geneva.

Living in close proximity to Calvinist territory during the Protestant Reformation, Francis felt compelled to lead an expedition to bring back the 60,000 Calvinists to the Catholic Church.

Over three years, he faced challenges, including doors being slammed in his face and rocks thrown at him, with his feet freezing so severely in bitter winters that they bled.

Francis’s extraordinary patience sustained his efforts. Faced with closed doors, he devised a method to communicate his message by writing pamphlets on true Catholic doctrine and slipping them under doors, marking an early instance of using religious tracts to reach those who had drifted from the Church.

When parents refused to engage, Francis turned to the children. His kindness while playing with them prompted parents to open up and engage in conversation.

Upon his return home, it is believed that Francis successfully brought around 40,000 people back to the Catholic Church.

Establishing strong alliances with Pope Clement VIII and Henry IV of France, Francis joined Henry IV on a diplomatic mission in 1601, delivering Lenten sermons at the Chapel Royal.

Henry grew fond of Francis, recognizing him as a “rare bird” – devout, knowledgeable, and a true gentleman.

In 1602, following the death of Bishop Granier, Francis was consecrated as the Bishop of Geneva, though he continued residing in Annecy.

His visits to the city of Geneva were rare, occurring only twice – once when the Pope sent him to attempt the conversion of Calvin’s successor, Beza, and another when he passed through.

Taking a pivotal step towards extraordinary holiness and mystical union with God in 1604, Francis had a transformative encounter in Dijon.

Observing a widow closely listening to his sermon, a woman he had previously seen in a dream, Jane de Chantal, Francis’s friendship with her marked the beginning of their journey towards sainthood.

Jane, a dedicated Catholic Christian, sought Francis to guide her spiritually, but he, desiring clarity on God’s will, initially hesitated, stating, “I had to know fully what God himself wanted.

I had to be sure that everything in this should be done as though his hand had done it.” As Jane pursued mystical union with God, Francis, in directing her, felt compelled to follow her path and become a mystic himself.

After years of collaboration with Jane, Francis decided to establish a new religious community, founding The Order of Visitation in 1610.

Despite being overworked and frequently unwell due to constant preaching, visiting, and instruction, including catechizing a deaf man for his first Communion, Francis believed that a bishop’s primary duty was spiritual direction.

He expressed deep gratitude for his demanding work, stating that it was infinitely profitable to him, reinforcing the idea that active engagement did not diminish but strengthened his spiritual inner peace.

Giving spiritual guidance primarily through letters, Francis displayed remarkable patience, handling a significant volume of correspondence.

Amidst the prevailing belief that true holiness was reserved for clergy and those in religious life, with contemplatives deemed the only ones capable of achieving holiness, Francis insisted that every Christian, regardless of their state in life, was called to holiness and sanctity.

His teachings laid the groundwork for the Second Vatican Council’s concept of the universal call to holiness, affirming that every baptized Christian could grow in sanctity in any career or state in life, emphasizing that holiness meant becoming more like Jesus Christ.

Francis actively directed laypeople in real-world circumstances, demonstrating through his own life that individuals could cultivate holiness while engaging in a busy occupation. He also recognized that Christian marriage and family life inherently constituted a call to holiness.

Paraphrase this for me: St. Francis de Sales authored his most renowned work, “Introduction to the Devout Life,” in 1608, specifically addressing ordinary laypeople rather than solely the clergy and religious.

Originally composed as letters, the book quickly gained widespread popularity throughout Europe, even though some clergy opposed the idea that lay individuals could attain holiness in their daily lives. Some critics objected to Francis’s endorsement of dancing and jokes.

In his perspective, the love of God paralleled romantic love. He likened those moved by natural human love to focus entirely on the beloved, with hearts filled with passion and mouths praising it.

For those who loved God, the constant thoughts, longing, aspiration, and communication about Him mirrored the intensity of romantic love.

According to Francis, prayer was the key to expressing love for God, urging individuals to fill their souls with God through meditation and initiating all prayers in God’s presence.

For those living busy lives in the world, he advised moments of solitude within one’s own heart to converse with God, emphasizing that the test of prayer was evident in a person’s actions.

He considered it a grave sin to judge or gossip about others, even when claiming to do so out of love, as it often served self-interest.

Francis advocated for gentleness and forgiveness towards oneself, mirroring the attitude held towards others.

As he aged and faced declining health, Francis expressed the challenges of slowing down, desiring a hermit’s life but finding himself increasingly sought after by the Pope, a princess, and Louis XIII.

He felt tethered to the earth by one foot and passed away on December 28, 1622, leaving the nun with his final advice: “Humility.”

Beatified on January 8, 1661, and canonized on April 19, 1665, by Pope Alexander VII, St. Francis de Sales earned recognition as the patron saint of Catholic writers and the Catholic press in 1923 due to his prolific writing.

He is also revered as the patron saint of the deaf, journalists, adult education, and the Sisters of St. Joseph. His feast day is celebrated on January 24, and he is often depicted with the Heart of Jesus and a Crown of Thorns.

Today’s Saint Francis de Sales Feast Day Quote

“You will catch more flies,” St. Francis used to say, “with a spoonful of honey than with a hundred barrels of vinegar. Were there anything better or fairer on earth than gentleness, Jesus Christ would have taught it us; and yet He has given us only two lessons to learn of Him – meekness and humility of heart.”

St Francis de Sales is the Patron Saint of

  1. Baker, Oregon
  2. Cincinnati, Ohio
  3. Catholic press
  4. Columbus, Ohio
  5. Confessors
  6. Deaf people
  7. Educators
  8. Upington, South Africa
  9. Wilmington, Delaware
  10. Writers
  11. Journalists
  12. The Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest

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About Laban Thua Gachie 10762 Articles
The founder of Catholicreadings.org is Laban Thua Gachie. I am a Commissioned Lector, a commissioned Liturgy Minister, and a Commissioned member of the Catholic Men Association. We at Catholic Daily Readings, operate the catholicreadings.org, a Catholic Church-related website and we pride ourself in providing you, on a daily basis the following; 1. Catholic Daily Mass Readings 2. Reflections on those Daily Readings 3. Daily prayers 4. Bible Verse of the Day 5. Saint of the Day