Saint Francis de Sales

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By Catholic Digest Staff


St. Francis de Sales

Feast Day: January 24

 

Immediately after his ordination in 1593, Francis was willingly dispatched to the isolated Chablis district of France. A mountainous area that had been lost to Catholicism during a failed military campaign sixty years prior, the Calvinists had re-imposed Protestantism and forced out all the Catholic priests. Undaunted, Francis trekked through the frozen, unforgiving terrain, despite the danger from wolves, thieves, and violent Calvinists. He printed broadsheets with the basic tenets of Catholic faith for the remote inhabitants, and through his faith and formidable determination, not only survived but converted two hundred people by his second winter. Rejecting an offer for the aid of soldiers for fear that forced conversions might take place, he wrote: “We must hold it an absolute fact that men do more through love and charity than through severity and harshness.” After four years, two-thirds of the entire population had converted to Catholicism and in the town of Annemasse Devotional celebrations drew over 30,000 participants and spectators.

 

Catholic Digest Staff