Tuesday, January 24, 2012

St. Francis de Sales

Today is the feast of St. Francis de Sales, whom I’ve chosen as my Confirmation saint.

Who? Francis was born in Savoy in 1567. He got a good education from Jesuits in Paris. Since Protestantism was gaining momentum at the time, he encountered the doctrine of predestination, which put him in a great depression over the state of his salvation. He credited Mary to overcoming this dark time. He went on to study law, and was set to become a lawyer and politician. However, he chose to dedicate his life and skills to the Church instead, eventually becoming Bishop of Geneva.

What did he do? He used his education to install catechetical instruction for children and adults so the faithful would have a stronger understanding of the Church. Geneva at the time was a Calvinist stronghold, so Francis wrote leaflets on the Church and the problems with Calvinism that he would slip under citizens’ doors. He is credited with converting thousands of Protestants. Because of his leaflets and books, Francis de Sales is the patron saint of writers and journalists. He is also the patron saint of the deaf, because he developed a sign language he used to spread Church teachings to the deaf. He is also a Doctor of the Church

Why have I chosen him? Well, he is the patron saint of writers, and he converted a lot of Calvinists, so that’s two big points already. Also, I read most of Introduction to the Devout Life this summer, when I was still going through a lot of doubts about making the leap to become Catholic. It struck me not only as a book full of practical advice, but knowledge that was relevant hundreds of years after he wrote it. And while all the saints are wonderful role models, Francis de Sales has been the only one I’ve really clicked with so far, and I think he will help me as I join the Church.

"Do not wish to be anything but what you are, and try to be that perfectly."

"True progress quietly and persistently moves along without notice."

"Within the practices of religion, the Blessed Sacrament is what the Sun is to the stars; it is truly the soul of the Christian religion. It is the ineffable mystery that comprehends divine charity, by which God, truly uniting to us, communicates to us his magnificence, graces and favors.”

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