Saint Francis de Sales

St. Francis de Sales (1567–1622) was born to a noble family in France. He enjoyed a privileged upbringing and education, earning a doctorate in law and theology. He was a well-liked and intelligent man, yet quiet and reserved. When struggling with thoughts of his possibly being predestined to eternal damnation, Francis went into a deep two-year depression. God healed him of this fear, and afterwards Francis consecrated himself to the Blessed Virgin Mary. He later became a priest, rejecting the lucrative career and advantageous marriage his father had prepared for him. As a priest, St. Francis became a prolific writer and preacher, and at the age of 35 was made bishop of the Calvinist stronghold in Geneva, Switzerland, at the height of the Protestant revolt against the Church. Through his gentleness, preaching skill, zeal for the faith, and his clear explanations of Catholic doctrine, he returned thousands of obstinate heretics to the true Faith. He also used sign language to convert the deaf. St. Francis de Sales is a Doctor of the Church, known especially for his writings on practical spiritual direction for lay people. He is the patron of teachers, the deaf, the Catholic press, confessors, educators, and authors. His feast day is January 24th.
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