Saint of the Day for 24 January: St. Francis de Sales
St. Francis de Sales: Life, Teachings and Legacy of the Saint of Kindness
St. Francis de Sales
Bishop and Doctor of the Church
1567, Thorens, Savoy
Dec. 28, 1622, Lyon, France
January 8, 1662, Rome, Pope Alexander VII
April 19, 1665, Rome, Pope Alexander VII
O true prodigy of holiness, glorious St. Francis, who knew how to unite so well the simplicity of the Dove with the prudence of the serpent, the conversation of the century with the recollection of the cloister and with the austerity of the desert, then filled with all The gifts of the Holy Spirit you knew how to open to the lovers of piety an entirely new way, that is, all easy and delightful to arrive with certainty at perfection the most sublime, obtain for me from the Lord the grace that I may walk it ever faithfully behind the Infallible escort of your holy teachings, so that, living like you in the guise of a burning and luminous lamp I may after having sanctified myself and erudite others in righteousness, become’ not only an admirer of your merits, but a sharer still of that glory which you enjoy blessedly with the Saints and with the Angels in Paradise. Qui ad fustinam erudiunt multus, quasi stelloe fulgebunt in perpetuas aeternitates Gloria.
Piedmont, Inverso Pinasca, Champdepraz
of authors, journalists, writers, deaf-mutes, Catholic press
St. Francis de Sales, Bishop of Geneva, Confessor and Doctor of the Church, special Patron in God’s sight of all Catholic Writers, who by the publication of journals and other writings illustrate, promote and defend Christian wisdom; who departed to heaven on December twenty-eighth, but is venerated chiefly on this day for the translation of his body.
The Saint and Mission
St. Francis de Sales is a figure who embodies a mission of deep humanity and loving spiritual guidance. His life, dedicated to service and teaching, is a living example of how kindness and understanding can be at the heart of the Christian life. St. Francis’ mission was distinguished by his unique approach to pastoral care and evangelization, based not on force or coercion but on loving persuasion and dialogue. Known for his gentleness and patience, St. Francis left a legacy of spiritual communication that privileged love and understanding above all else. His ability to listen, empathize and guide with kindness had a profound impact on his contemporaries and continues to influence modern pastoral care. His mission was not simply to convert, but to accompany people on their spiritual journey, respecting their individuality and encouraging a faith lived through love and joy. In St. Francis de Sales we find a model of how spirituality can be expressed through kindness, patience and unconditional love. His life teaches us that the true Christian mission is not to impose, but to propose; not to condemn, but to understand; not to dominate, but to serve with humility and love. His legacy is an invitation to live the faith with an open heart, reminding us that true spiritual greatness is found in the ability to love and serve with kindness.
The Saint and Mercy
St. Francis de Sales emerges in the history of Christian spirituality as a shining example of mercy. His life and ministry, deeply rooted in kindness and love, reflect an understanding of mercy that goes beyond simple piety, embracing a deeper and more personal approach to dealing with others. St. Francis de Sales’ mercy was not just an abstract concept, but a reality lived daily in his pastoral approach. He showed an extraordinary ability to meet people where they were, welcoming them with an open heart and deep listening. His was a mercy that expressed itself in comforting the afflicted, patiently guiding the lost, and offering unreserved understanding and forgiveness. His vision of mercy was imbued with deep empathy and unconditional love that sought to uplift the human soul rather than judge it. St. Francis de Sales taught that true mercy is not limited to feeling for others, but requires an active commitment to showing love and compassion, especially to those who are most vulnerable or marginalized. His message and life are a powerful reminder that mercy is at the heart of the Christian message. His legacy teaches us that, through mercy, we can build bridges of understanding and love, transforming our communities and the world into more compassionate and welcoming places. St. Francis de Sales reminds us that being merciful is not only about giving, but also about becoming a refuge of hope and light for others.
Francis was born the year 1567 in the castle of Sales, diocese of Geneva, to Francis, Count of Sales, and Frances of Sionas. From his earliest years he showed marked inclination for good, and great docility. He made his first studies in Annecy, and from there he was sent to Paris. There he studied rhetoric, philosophy and theology with the Jesuit Fathers. His life was withdrawn: he attended church and the sacraments; even then he took a vow of chastity. Having completed his studies in Paris, he was sent by his father to Padua to study law. There Francis was exposed to great dangers, which he happily escaped by his strong will and the help of God in whom he always trusted. Francis’ father had planned to make his son one of the most esteemed gentlemen in society and…