Born 1567 at the Castle of Sales in the French Duchy of Savoy, near Thorens (Haute-Savoie), Saint Francis de Sales renounced all his possessions and titles. He chose the same Lady Poverty Saint Francis romanced so eloquently 4 centuries before to teach us what our true treasure is, and became a priest.
His bishop, Msgr Granier assigned Saint Francis de Sales to evangelize the mountainous Alpine region of le Chablais, almost entirely turned to Calvinism. He was to face face snow and wolves in his travails.
He undertook to write personal letters. With the help of the recently invented printing press, he took to posting them in public places and passing them on door-to-door.
This is how Saint Francis de Sales became the patron Saint of Journalists, as he is considered to have authored the first periodic catholic publication in the world.
These publications were collected and published as "Méditations", "Épîtres à Messieurs de Thonon", (letters to Gentlemen in Thonon) and "Controverses". To reach the illiterate, he preached on market places, during the market times.
I wrote quite extensively about Saint Francis de Sales' life on another Feast Day, as he "birthed" himself another Saint in his lifetime, Sainte Jeanne of Chantal, for whom he wrote "Introduction to the Devout Life": see my entry on August 18, 2006, for Sainte Jeanne de Chantal - Saint Jane of Chantal and the Martyrdom of Love (1572-1641) at http://faustynka.livejournal.com/2006/08/18/
, which discusses his remarkable impact and the creation of his order, the Order of the Visitation, in the spirit of the pregnant Mary visiting the pregnant Elizabeth, giving birth to the very first church gathering in the True Presence and Its Abiding Love.
Another Saint sprang out of Saint Francis de Sales' labor of love, Saint Don Bosco, another famous salesian priest who applied the calling to love to the salvation and education of thousands homeless children loitering in the streets of industrial Turino in the XIXth century.
SAINT FRANCOIS DE SALES EN PRIERE, 1765
"Saint François de Sale en prière" (Saint Francis de Sales in prayer), from the Musée des Augustins (Fine Arts Museum) in Toulouse, France,
Image credit from http://www.augustins.org/sp/collections/bdd/zoom.asp?num=Ra+915
En 1767, morceau de réception de Pajou à l’Académie royale de peinture, sculpture et architecture de Toulouse, supprimée en 1793.
Cette statuette est le modèle en terre cuite de la statue exécutée pour l’église Saint-Roch de Paris, sous la direction de Falconet (connue par un moulage en stuc). Saint François de Sales, évêque de Genève, auteur de l’Introduction à la vie dévote et fondateur de l’ordre de la Visitation, devait y côtoyer saint Grégoire, saint Augustin et saint Charles Borromée.