Theology of the Heart- Lives of the Saints- St. Francis de Sales
Bishop of Geneva, Doctor of the Church,
Cofounder of the
Congregation of the Visitation
The Birth of the Saint
Saint Francis was born at Thorens, in the Duchy of Savoy, on
August 21, 1567.
He was baptized the following day in the Parish Church of
Thorens, with the name of Francis Bonaventure. His father,
François de Sales de Boisy, and his mother, Françoise de Sionnaz,
belonged to old Savoyard aristocratic families. The future saint
was the eldest of six brothers. During his life he chose St.
Francis of Assisi to be his patron saint. The room where he was
born was called “St. Francis’s Room,” because there was an image
of the “Poverello” preaching to the birds and fishes.
Since childhood Francis was very delicate in health because he
was born pre-mature; but thanks to the good care he received he
was able to recuperate and be strengthened with the years. He
was not robust, but his health permitted him to be very active
and energetic during his life.
His father intended him for the magistery and sent him at an
early age to the colleges of La Roche and Annecy. From 1583 till
1588 he studied rhetoric and humanities at the college of
Clermont, Paris under the care of the Jesuits.
The Mother of Francis
Mrs. Francisca de Boisy was a very kind and hardworking
woman, profoundly pious. St. Jane de Chantal said: “the people
admired her as one of the most respected ladies of her time.”
She had to govern and direct everything in the large castle of
40 workers, servants and messengers, laborers, and those in
charge of the flock.
It is important to recognize the qualities of Francis’s mother
because living in the cold, darkened valley where his house was,
he could have been withdrawn and shy, inclined to pessimism or
But because of the marvelous formation of Mrs. Francisca de
Boisy and his father’s education, he obtained the base to
become, with God’s grace and his efforts, a marvelous channel of
gentleness and the most exquisite social relations.
Mrs. Francisca lived a very busy life, but without toil or
haste. Perhaps from her the child Francis learned the virtue he
made his own all his life: work much, work always, but never
losing calm, without anxiety, not leaving for tomorrow what can
be done today.
Religion dominated the life of Mrs. Francisca and she shared it
with every one. Here is where Francis learned to share and pass
down his knowledge to others.
He was a beautiful child, blond and rosy, who liked to play in
the castle. He liked to go to the Church and to pray looking at
the altar. He was also very generous to the poor. Without a
doubt he received from the Holy Spirit the gift of magnificence
(splendor), which consists of the special desire to give and to
As a child he was lively and restless, wanting to be curious
around the immense castle where he lived; his mother and nanny
had to be constantly vigilant to see where he was and what he
was doing. His mother taught him catechism, narrating beautiful
religious examples. When Francis was playing in the field with
his friends he repeated the teachings and stories heard from the
lips of his mother. He was being trained for his precious future
work; to teach catechism, but beautifully with examples. Also
his infancy was known for his zeal for God, as well as his
inclination to anger, which he battled with for 19 years of his
life until dominating it.
It is known that one day a Calvinist visited the castle, Francis
found out and not being able to be in the living room to
protest, he took a stick in his hands, and full of indignation
went to the farmyard of hens, attacking and screaming to them: “
Out of here, heretic: we don’t want heretics.” The poor hens
left, running for their lives. The servants arrived in time to
He who observed and attacked the hens would later obtain a
gentle and kind temper, so benevolent and good that he did not
show a trace of anger even in the most tremendous adversities.
This goodness was not from birth, it was a conquest, step by
step, with God’s help.
His father, Mr. Francisco, feared his son would grow weak in his
will because his mother loved him so much and might be raising
him somewhat pampered and spoiled. Therefore he hired as his
professor a very rigid and demanding priest, Father Deage. He
would be his precept during his student years. He was a man
known to be exact in everything, demanding, and a perfectionist.
He helped Francis much in his formation, but also made him go
through difficult times because he was too demanding. Francis
never complained, but always appreciated it. He made a
resolution for his future; not to demand so much in inopportune
details and to be gentler to those he will direct.
At 8 years old he entered the School of Annecy, and when he was
10 years old he received First Holy Communion and Confirmation.
Ever since that day he resolved not to let a day pass without
visiting the Blessed Sacrament in the Church or school chapel.
He, who later became a great promoter of the Solemn devotion to
the Eucharist, was prepared by his mother and the priest
preceptor to receive Jesus in First Holy Communion.
Guided by his mother he outlined good and important intentions
such as this remembrance of his First Communion:
1) Each morning and night I will pray some prayers.
2) When I pass by a Church, I will enter to visit the
Eucharistic Jesus, if there is no grave reason not to.
3) Always and in all occasions possible I will help the people
most poor and in need.
4) I will read good books, especially the lives of the saints.
During all his life he tried to be faithful to these intentions.
One year later in the same Church of St. Dominic (actually St.
Maurice), he received the tonsure.
Francis the Student
The desire to consecrate himself to God consumed him, it was
his ideal, his goal; but his father (who took the name Boisy
upon marriage) had in mind for his firstborn a secular career,
without taking into account his inclinations. At the age of 14,
Francis went to study at the University of Paris, which, with 54
schools, was one of the largest educational centers of the time.
His father had sent him to the School of Navarra, where the
children of the Saboya family studied; but Francis, safeguarding
his vocation, obtained from his father permission to go to the
School of Clermont, directed by the Jesuits and known for piety
and love of conscience. Accompanied by Father Deage, Francis
settled in the White Rose Hotel at St. Jacques Street, a few
steps from the School of Clermont.
Francis proposed a plan of life during his stay in the school so
as to dedicate himself to what he had to do and prepare well for
the future. Since the beginning, guided by his director Father
Deage, he outlined a program of action: each week to confess and
receive Holy Communion. Attend daily class well and prepare
homework and lectures for the following day. In addition to two
hours daily of horseback riding, fencing, and dancing. This
combination of pious exercises and gymnastic arts obtained for
him an elegant and respectable appearance. He was tall, elegant,
graceful, and well presented. An enemy of his luxuries, but
always well presented. In gathering with the affluent, elegant
people, he was the favored guest because just as he was simple
and well presentable, he was the “ culture personified.”
As Bishop, the people exclaimed: “ In the social reunions he
conducts himself with holiness, worthy of a minister of God, and
in the religious ceremonies he conducts himself with the most
exquisite elegance of a gentlemen.”
Someone asked why, and he responded: “ When I’m in the joy of a
social party I imagine myself to be dressed with the Bishop’s
ornaments, and I conduct myself with the dignity it requires.
When I’m celebrating a religious ceremony I imagine myself to be
in the most exquisite and refined reunion, and I try to behave
with education and politeness required in these cases.”
Soon after, he distinguished himself in philosophy and rhetoric
(use of language). Later he gave himself passionately to study
theology. Each day he was more decided to consecrate himself to
God, and decided to do a perpetual vow of chastity, placing
himself under the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary. His
trials, however, were not absent.
The Most Terrible Temptation of His Youth
To live in the grace of God in those days was not easy. But,
Francis knew how to avoid all occasions of danger and friendship
that would lead him to offend God. He was able to conserve his
soul uncontaminated and admirably pure. Francis was 18 years
His character was inclined to anger, many times the blood would
rise up to his face before certain jokes and humiliations, but
he was able to contain himself, many thought that Francis never
had a bad temper.
But the enemy of our souls, not able to attack him in the common
passions, decided to attack him again through a more dangerous
and unknown means.
He started to feel in his brain the constant thought and
annoyance that he was going to be condemned and go to hell for
ever. The heresy of Predestination, by Calvin, which he read,
was constantly on his mind and he was not able to make it leave
his thought. He had no appetite and was unable to sleep. He was
very thin and thought he was going mad. What tormented him the
most was not the sufferings of hell, but to not be able to love
The Lord who allowed the temptation gave him a way out. The
first remedy found was to tell the Lord:
“O, My God, if by your infinite Justice, I have to go to hell
for ever, grant me the grace to love you there. I don’t care if
you send me all the tortures possible, but only if it is for me
to love you always.” This prayer brought back some peace to his
But the definite remedy against this temptation, to never bother
him again, was to enter the Church of St. Stephen in Paris and
kneeling before the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary pray the
famous St. Bernard prayer, the Memorare:
“Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known
that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or
sought your intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this
confidence, I fly unto you, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother. To
you I come, before you I stand, sinful, and sorrowful. O Mother
of the Word incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in your
mercy hear and answer me. Amen.”
After he finished praying this prayer, like a miracle, all the
thoughts, sadness and desperation ceased, instead of bitter
sentiments of condemnation, he received the assurance: “For God
did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but
that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:17)
This trial helped him very much to heal his pride and also to
know how to better comprehend people and treat them with
In 1588, he went to the Italian city of Padua since his
father ordered him to study law and to receive a doctorate.
Francis obeyed his father. He studied law four hours a day to
become a lawyer. Four other hours he studied theology, the
science of God, since he had a great desire to become a priest.
During his stay in Padua, Francis said: “what helped him the
most was the friendship and spiritual direction of wise and holy
Jesuit priests. What helped him very much was reading the book
he carried for 17 years during his life, written by Father
Scupoli titled Spiritual Combat. He read this book daily.
Saint Francis made out a detailed plan of life during his stay
1) Every morning he would do a forecast examination which
consisted in seeing the work, persons and activities scheduled
for the day, he would plan how to conduct himself with them.
2) A midday he would visit the Blessed Sacrament and do a
Particular Examination of conscience: to examine his dominate
defect or imperfection and see if he had responded with the
opposite virtue (during 19 years this particular examination was
about his bad temper, that imperfection or defect he had been
3) No day passed without meditation: at least for half an hour
he would dedicate to meditate on the favors received from the
Lord, the greatness of God, the truths of the Bible and the
examples of the saints.
4) Pray the Holy Rosary daily: not to allow a day to pass in his
life without praying the rosary, a promise he always fulfilled.
5) Treat others in a gentle but moderate way.
6) During the day think about the presence of God.
7) Every evening before retiring to do an Examination of the day
he said: “I will remember if I started my journey entrusting it
to God. If during my occupations I remembered God frequently to
offer him my actions, thoughts, words and sufferings. If I did
every thing today for love of God. If I treated people well. If
in my labors and words today I sought to give pleasure in my
self love and pride instead of pleasing God and doing something
good for my neighbor. If I was able to do a small sacrifice. If
I forced myself to be more fervent in prayer. I will ask
forgiveness to the Lord for the offenses of this day, with the
purpose to be better tomorrow, and I will ask God to grant me
the fortitude to always be faithful to God; and after praying
three Hail Marys I will offer myself peacefully to sleep.
Signed: Francis de Sales, Padua 1589.
This way Francis maintained his heart protected during his
studies in Padua. At age 24 he received his doctorate in law and
went to reunite with his family in the Castle of Thuille, near
the Annecy Lake. Here during 18 months, he lived at least in
appearance an ordinary life of a young man of the nobility.
Francis’s father had great desire that his son marry as soon as
possible and had chosen a young lady, a heiress of one of the
families of the region. But because of Francis’ courteous but
distant relationship, it was soon understood by the young lady
that he had no interest.
The saint also rejected the offering of the dignity of being a
member of the Senate in his young age.
Until this point Francis had only confided in his mother and
cousin Louis de Sales and some intimate friends his desire to
consecrate his life to the service of God. But the time had come
to talk about it with his father. Mr. Boisy lamented that his
son did not accept the position in the Senate and his not
wanting to marry, but this did not give him any suspicion that
Francis wanted to become a priest.
The death of the Dean of the Chapter of Geneva made the
canonical lawyer Louis de Sales think of the possibility of
naming Francis in his place, easing the unhappiness of the
saint’s father. With the help of Claudio de Granier, Bishop of
Geneva, and without consulting any family member, the canonical
explained the situation to the Pope, recommending Francis. Upon
his return Bishop Granier received the Pope’s response
appointing Francis for this position. Francis, surprised at the
Pope’s recommendation, accepted this honor which he had not
sought out, hoping his father would better accept his decision
to enter the priesthood.
Mr. Boisy was a decided man and thought his children owed him
absolute obedience. Frances had to recourse to his respectful
patience to persuade and convince his father that he should
Finally Francis was dressed with his cassock the same day his
father consented and was ordained priest six months later on
December 18th, 1593. From this moment he gave himself completely
to his new priestly duties with a zeal that never diminished. He
exercised his priestly ministry among the poor with special
love; his favorite penitents were from humble families.
His preaching was not limited only to Annecy, but he went to
many other cities. Even though he was a doctor he spoke with
simple words, people liked him because his sermons were not
adorned with Greek and Latin citations so common in those times.
God had for the saint a very difficult future task.
The Conquest of the Calvinists: the Misson of de Chablais
The religious conditions of the habitants of Chablais, near
the south coast of Geneva Lake were deplorable due to the
constant attacks by the Protestants. The Duke of Saboy begged
Bishop Claudio de Granier to sent missionaries to evangelize the
region. The Bishop sent a priest from Thonon, capital of
Chablais, but his efforts failed. The priest soon had to leave.
The Bishop presented the situation with its difficulties and
dangers to be considered by the chapter. Of all those present
Francis was the one who comprehended best the seriousness of the
problem and offered himself for this mission, saying simply to
the Lord : “Lord, if you think I can be useful in this mission
give me the order to go, I’m prompt to obey and will consider
myself fortunate to be chosen for it.” The Bishop accepted,
giving Francis a great joy.
Mr. Boisy saw things differently and went to Annecy to impede
this mission he called “a madness.” According to him, the
mission was equivalent to sending his son to death. Kneeling at
the Bishop’s feet he said: “Lord, I permitted my firstborn, the
hope of my house, of my advanced age and of my life to
consecrate himself to the service of the Church; but I want him
to be a confessor not a martyr.” The Bishop, impressed and moved
by the pleading of his friend, was willing to yield, but Francis
himself pleaded for him to be firm with the decision: “ Are you
going to make me unfit for the Kingdom of God ?” Francis asked.
“I have put my hand to the plow, and don’t make me go back.”
The Bishop applied all the arguments possible to discourage Mr.
Boisy, but he left with the following words:
“I don’t want to get in the way of God’s will, but I don’t want
to be the assassin of my son allowing him to participate in this
ridiculous mission . . . I will never authorize this mission.”
Francis started to travel without his father’s blessing, and on
September 14th, the Feast of the Holy Cross he left with only
his cousin, the lawyer Louis de Sales, to recapture Chablais.
The governor of the province had become strong with a line of
soldiers in Allinges Castle, where the two missionaries stayed
at night time to avoid being surprised.
There were only 20 Catholics left in Thonon, and they were
afraid to profess their faith openly. Francis made contact with
them and exhorted them to persevere with courage. The
missionaries preached daily in Thonon and shortly extended to
The journey to the Castle of Allinges through which they had to
travel posed many difficulties; it was very dangerous
particularly in the winter. One night Francis was attacked by
wolves and had to climb a tree and stay there overnight to save
his life. The following morning the farmers found him in such a
deplorable state that, had they not transported him to their
house for food and warmth, the saint would have died.
The good farmers were Calvinists. Francis thanked them, full of
charity, and became their friend. Shortly afterwards, they
converted to Catholicism.
In the year 1595, a group of assassins tried to capture Francis
on two occasions, but by a miracle the saint’s life was
Time passed and the fruits of the missionary work were scarce.
On the other hand, Mr. Boisy constantly sent letters to his son,
pleading and ordering him to abandon the mission. Francis
responded always that his Bishop has not given him an official
order to return and abandon the mission.
The saint wrote to a friend in these terms: “We are only in the
beginnings. I’m decided to continue forward with courage, and my
hope against all hope is in the Lord.”
St. Francis, by every means, tried to touch the hearts and minds
of the people. He started to write a series of pamphlets using
Church doctrine to refute the Calvinists. Those writings,
composed in full battle, written and copied by the saint’s own
hand, were distributed and would later form the book
Controversies. The originals are conserved in the Visitation
Convent in Annecy. Here is where the writing career of St.
Francis de Sales started. He also added to this work the
spiritual care for soldiers in charge of securing the Castle of
Allinges, Catholics by name, but ignorant and with vice.
In the summer of 1595, when St. Francis was going to Mt. Voiron
to restore the oratory of Our Lady destroyed by the habitants of
Berna, a multitude attacked, insulted, and offended him.
Little by little more people came to hear his sermons in Thonon,
during this time pamphlets proved to be successful. The simple
people of the town admired the patience of the saint in
difficulties and persecutions and showed him their admiration.
The amount of conversions increased and a current of renegades
came to be reconciled with the Church.
When Bishop Granier went to visit the mission about 3-4 years
later, the fruits of abnegation and zeal of St. Francis de Sales
were visible. Many Catholics came out to receive the Bishop who
admired and rejoiced at the amount of confirmations, and also
the 40 hour Eucharistic devotion, an unprecedented devotion in
Saint Francis had restored the Catholic faith in the province
and deserved in justice the title: “Apostle of Chablais.”
Mario Besson, a posterior Bishop of Geneva, summarized the
apostolic work of his predecessor in a phrase from St. Francis
de Sales and St. Jane de Chantal: “I have frequently repeated
that the best way to preach against heretics is love, even
without saying a word of refute their doctrines.”
The same Bishop Mons. Besson quoted Cardinal Du Perron: “I’m
convinced that with divine help, the science God has given me is
sufficient to demonstrate that heretics are mistaken; but if you
want to convert them, take the Bishop of Geneva because God has
given him the grace to convert those that come to him.”
Saint Francis, Bishop
Monsignor Granier, who always saw in Francis a possible,
coadjutor and successor, thought the time arrived to put to
action his thoughts and projects. The saint refused and did not
accept at first, but finally he rendered to the supplications of
his Bishop, submitting to what he considered a manifestation of
A short time after this he was attacked by a grave illness that
put him between life and death. After he recuperated he went to
Rome. Pope Clement VIII had heard many pleasant comments
concerning the qualities of this young priest, especially about
his virtues. The Pope requested an examination in his presence.
On that day many theologians and scholars were present. The Holy
Father himself, as well as Baronio, Bernard, the Cardinal
Federick Borromeo (cousin of the saint) and others interrogated
him on 35 difficult points in theology. St. Francis responded
with simplicity and modesty, but without hiding his knowledge.
The Pope confirmed his assignment as coadjutor of Geneva.
Francis returned to his dioceses to work with more energy and
eagerness than before.
In 1602 he was invited to preach in Paris; he went and preached
in the Royal Chapel. Soon afterwards a great multitude went to
hear the words of the saint which were very simple, moving and
courageous. Henry IV acquired great esteem for the coadjutor of
Geneva and tried in vain to keep him in France.
Years later, when St. Francis returned to Paris, the King
insisted on him staying, but the young Bishop refused to leave
his dioceses in the mountains, his “poor spouse” as he called
it, for an important dioceses, “ the rich spouse” that the King
of France offered him. Henry IV exclaimed: “The Bishop of Geneva
has all the virtues, without one defect.”
The death of Claudio de Granier occurred in the fall of 1602,
and Francis succeeded in the government of the dioceses. He
established his residence in Annecy and organized his house
using a strict economy and consecrating all his pastoral duties
with enormous generosity and devotion. In addition to his
administrative duties which he embraced fully with all the
possible details, the saint found time for preaching and
confessing with tireless zeal. He organized the teachings for
catechism; he himself took charge of the instruction in Annecy
using an interesting form and fervor which the people of the
area still remembered many years after his death as “the
catechism of the Bishop.”
The generosity and charity, humility and clemency of the saint
were inexhaustible. In his relationship with souls he was always
kind and benevolent, without falling into weakness; he also knew
to be firm when needed.
In his marvelous Treatise on the Love of God he wrote:
“The measurement of love is to love without measurement.” He
knew how to live what he preached.
Through his letters he guided and encouraged innumerable people
needing his help. Among the souls he guided spiritually was St.
Jane de Chantal who occupied a special place. St. Francis met
her in 1604 while preaching a Lenten sermon in Dijon. In 1610
the foundation of the Visitation Order was a fruit of this
encounter between the two saints.
The book Introduction to the Devout Life was written from
notes the saint kept on instructions and councils given to his
cousin, Mrs. de Chamoisy who confided in the saint for spiritual
direction. In 1608 St. Francis decided to publish these notes
with some additions. The book was received as the work of an
ascetic and was soon translated into other languages.
In 1610, Francis de Sales lost his mother (his father had died
two years before). Later on the saint wrote to St. Jane de
Chantal: “My heart was broken and I cried for my good mother
like I had never done since becoming a priest.” St. Francis was
to outlive his mother by nine years, nine years of inexhaustible
Months and Death of the Saint
In 1622, the Duke of Saboya, on his way to meet Louis XIII in
Avignon, invited the saint to meet him in that city. Moved by
the desire to plead for the French of his dioceses, the Bishop
accepted the invitation, risking his poor health on the long
journey in mid winter.
It seemed the saint sensed his life was ending. Before departing
from Annecy he put in order all his affairs and started the trip
as if he were not to return to his flock. In Avignon he did all
possible to continue his accustomed life of austerity, but the
multitudes crowded to see him and all the religious communities
wanted the holy Bishop to preach to them.
On his return trip, St. Francis stopped in Lyon, staying in the
small house of the gardener of the Convent of the Visitation.
Even though he was very tired, he stayed the entire month
attending the religious. One of them asked him what virtue in
particular she was to practice; the saint wrote on a piece of
paper with large letters: “Humility.”
During the Advent season and Christmas, under the rigorous
winter, he continued his journey, preaching and administering
the sacraments to all who requested them. On the feast day of
St. John the Apostle he was surprised by a paralysis, but he
recuperated his speech and full consciousness. With admirable
patience he underwent the painful remedies administered with the
intention of prolonging his life, but in reality they shortened
On his death bed he repeated: “I put all my hope in the Lord,
and he heard my plea by bringing me out of the ditch of misery
and of the swamp of iniquity.”
In the last moment of his life, while tightly holding the hand
of one of his assistants he murmured: “It is nighttime and the
day is moving away.”
His last word was the name of “Jesus.” While the people around
him kneeled to pray the Litanies for the agonizing, St. Francis
de Sales expired sweetly on December 28th, 1622 on the Feast of
the Holy Innocents. He was 56 years old and had been bishop for
After His Death
At the same hour St. Francis de Sales died, St. Jane de
Chantal was praying for him in the city of Grenoble and she
heard a voice tell her: “He no longer lives on earth.” However,
she was not too inclined to believe extraordinary favors, and
she did not believe the voice to be an announcement of St.
Francis’ death. When the news reached her, she understood the
voice to be true and cried all day and night over the death of
On December 29th, the entire city of Lyon marched through the
humble house where the dear saint died. It was so much the
desire of the people to kiss and touch his hands and feet that
the doctors had a hard time taking the body for an autopsy.
- The bile: Mons. Camus said that upon removing his bile, 33
stones were found, symbol of his heroic efforts in conquering
his inclination to anger and bad temper, and becoming the Saint
of kindness and gentleness.
- Relics: All the people in Lyon wanted to keep something in
remembrance of the saint; his clothes were cut into small pieces
and given to the people as a relic.
- The Heart: in a silver case the heart of this great bishop was
taken to the Convent of the Sisters of the Visitation in Lyon
and kept there as a great treasure.
- Exposed to the public: after embalming the body of Bishop
Francis de Sales he was dressed with his Episcopal vestments and
taken in the casket for his funeral mass in the Church of the
Visitation. He was exposed for veneration of the faithful for
When the news reached Annecy, all were surprised by the death of
the bishop, and after a general silence all cried for their dear
Immediately after the arrival of the body in Annecy and his
burial, miracles started to happen through the intercession of
the Saint, giving cause for the Holy See to open the
Beatification process in 1626.
What Happened the Day His Tomb was Opened?
In 1632 the exhumation of St. Francis de Sales’ body was
conducted to examine its condition. The tomb was opened by the
commissioners of the Holy See who accompanied the nuns of the
Visitation Convent. When the tombstone was lifted the saint
appeared the same as when he lived. His lovely face conserved
the gentle and mild expression as in his sleep. His hand was
taken and the arm was elastic (he had been buried 10 years).
From the coffin emerged a pleasant fragrance.
The city went in procession before the body of their holy bishop
who seemed to be asleep. In the evening when all the people
left, Mother de Chantal returned with her sisters to contemplate
more closely and with tranquility the body of their venerated
founder; but because of the prohibition from authority she did
not dare to touch or kiss his beautiful pale hands.
The following day the commissioners from the Holy See said the
prohibition to touch the saint was not implied for St. Jane de
Chantal. She kneeled next to the coffin, took the hand of St.
Francis de Sales and put it over her head as if to ask his
blessing. All the sisters witnessed how the hand seemed to
recover life and moved its fingers and softly caressed and
touched the humble head of his beloved disciple and saint.
Still to this day in Annecy the sisters of the Visitation Order
conserve the veil that Mother Jane Francisca wore on that day.
Saint Francis de Sales was beatified by Pope Alexander VII in
1661 and the same Pope canonized him in 1665, 43 years after his
In 1878, Pope Pius IX considered the three famous books written
by the saint: The Controversies (against the Protestants);
Introduction to the Devout Life (or Philothea) and Treatise on
the Love of God. He also considered his sermons as real
treasures of wisdom. He declared St. Francis de Sales “Doctor of
the Church,” naming him “The Doctor of Kindness.”
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