St. Francis de Sales was born to a noble family near Geneva, Switzerland in 1567. He was a Bishop and Doctor of the Church. Francis was both intelligent and gentle. From a very early age, he desired to serve God. He always knew he had a vocation to the priesthood but kept it from his family. His father wanted him to enter a career in law and politics. He never lost his passion for God. He studied theology and practiced mental prayers but kept quiet about his devotion. To please his father, he also studied fencing and riding.
God made his will clear to Francis one day while he was riding. Francis fell from his horse three times that day. Every time he fell, the sword came out of the scabbard, and every time it came out, the sword and scabbard came to rest on the ground in the shape of the Christian cross. Subsequently, Francis was ordained to the priesthood.
During the time of the Protestant reformation, he led an expedition to bring the 60,000 Calvinists back to the Catholic Church. For three years, he trudged through the countryside, had doors slammed in his face and rocks thrown at him. In the bitter winters, his feet froze so badly they bled as he tramped through the snow.
Francis’ unusual patience kept him working. No one would listen to him, no one would even open their doors. So, Francis wrote little pamphlets to explain true Catholic doctrine and slipped them under their doors. By working with children, Francis was able to bring an additional 40,000 people to the Catholic Church.
Francis answered the call to discipleship. He was a priest and bishop of all the people, the royalty and the common person you would meet on the street. He dedicated his life to spreading the Gospel to anyone who would listen and even to those who would not. What a wonderful example we have in St. Francis as the patron of our parish.
Peace and All Good!