St Francis de Sales.
1567-1622 ~ Francis was born in the town of Thorens in Savoy in France at the family chateau. His parents were rich and affluent people and this enabled them to give Francis a good education. As a young man, he studied at a college at Anney in Paris and attended the Jesuit College at Clermont in Paris.
Francis continued his education at Padua University reading theology and law. He received his Doctorate of Law when he was twenty-four. His parents objected to him leading a religious life as Francis intended. They wanted him to have a career in law. Nether-the-less, against their wishes, he was ordained a priest. One of his first duties was to convert his fellow countrymen back to the Catholic faith around the region of Savoy. This was a dangerous mission as most of the citizens had turned to Calvinism (a doctrine of John Calvin). Francis spent five years struggling to win back converts and at times physical violence broke out.
Over the coming years his efforts proved successful and thousands of people came back to the Catholic Church. Francis took over the position of bishop of Genoa in 1602 and immediately set about reforming the neglected diocese. This was a difficult task and he preached determinedly almost non-stop. In 1604, through a chance meeting with St Jane Frances de Chantal, he founded with her help the “Order of the Visitation” which took them six years to organise.
It was at one of the convents at Lyons where Francis died in 1622 at an early age of fifty-five. During his life, he achieved a great deal. He was an outstanding writer and produced many religious papers and books. Francis was made Doctor of the Church in 1877.
He is the patron saint of the Catholic Press and writers.