St. Francis de Sales was born in France in 1567. Encouraged by his father to become a lawyer, he instead entered the priesthood after convincing his family that ministry was his true calling. Following a personal meeting in Rome with Pope Clement VIII, Francis was appointed Provost of the Diocese of Geneva, and ultimately Bishop of Geneva in 1602.
At a time when it was believed that a person had to withdraw from life to a contemplative setting to become holy, Francis taught that holiness can be achieved in everyday life. The path consists in using each person's unique God given gifts to the best of his or her ability and for the Glory of God. This is true for a mother, carpenter, banker, physician, or any walk of life. "Be who you are and be that well."
De Sales was also a prolific writer, from the well-known Introduction to the Devout Life and Treatise on the Love of God, to many short pamphlets explaining the beliefs of Catholicism during the Protestant Reformation. He was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius IX in 1877.
Because of his kindly temperament, Francis de Sales is often called the "Gentleman Saint".
Some Thoughts from St. Francis de Sales
God is love, and all creation is an outpouring of that love.
We are called to be holy, to live a "devout life" and grow in union with God.
We are called to become like Christ and bring Christ's love to all we meet - to "Live Jesus."
The "little virtues" of patience, humility, gentleness, simplicity, honesty and hospitality are powerful means for growing holy.
Be charitable to all and always assume the best possible motive for someone's actions.
Be patient with everyone, especially yourself.
We have only the present moment. Do not dwell on the past or be anxious about the future.
We are seldom called to do extraordinary things, but to do ordinary things with extraordinary attention and enthusiasm.
Prayer of St. Francis de Sales
My God, I give you this day.
I offer you, now, all the good that I shall do,
And I promise to accept, for love of you,
All of the difficulty that I shall meet.
Help me to conduct myself during this day
In a manner pleasing to you.