Francis de Sales

FRANCIS de SALES, (1567-1622), Bishop of Geneva from 1602, and one of the leaders of the Counter-Reformation. After studying philosophy and humanities in Paris he gave up brilliant secular prospects in response to an overmastering vocation to holy orders, and was ordained in 1593. He met St. Jane Frances de Chantal in 1603; through their combined labors the Visitandines were founded in 1610. His most famous writings, the Introduction to the Devout Life (1609) and the Treatise on the Love of God (1616), were adapted from instructions given to individuals.

Adapted from The Concise Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, ed. E. Livingstone, (Oxford, 1977), p.

FRANCIS de SALES ( 21 August 1567, Château de Sales, Thorens, Savoy, 28 December 1622, Lyons, France). Education: studied humanities and philosophy, Jesuit Coll. of Clermont, Paris, 1582-88; studied law and theology, Univ. of Padua, 1588-91. Career: ordained priest, 1593; provost of exiled Genevan canons, Annecy, 1593-99; missionary to the Chablais, 1594-98; trip to Rome, 1598-99; coadjutor bishop-elect of Geneva-Annecy, 1599-1602; bishop of Geneva-Annecy, 1602-22; cofounder with Madame de Chantel, Visitation of Holy Mary, 1610; canonized saint, 1665; doctor of the church, 1877.

Francis de Sales was a religious reformer in Savoy and a theologian of Christian spirituality. Educated under the guidance of the Jesuit humanist tradition, he became during his years in the Catholic diocese of Geneva, which had been exiled to Annecy, Savoy, a spiritual guide to lay and religious within his diocese. He wrote numerous letters of spiritual guidance and eventually collected them into two books-- The Introduction to a Devout Life (1608, rev. 1609) and A Treatise on the Love of God (1616)-which became classics of the Western Christian spiritual tradition.

The Introduction was intended to provide spiritual guidance for those who were leading "an ordinary life to all outward appearances." It reflected the Erasmian humanism that focused upon finding the love of God and Christ in daily activities. The Treatise was intended for those living in an advanced state of Christian perfection; it focused on charity as the form of all virtues.

In all of his pastoral as well as published work, Francis tried to counter what he considered the pessimistic theology of Calvinism, with its emphasis upon human sinfulness and predestination, and emphasized in Molinistic fashion the freedom of the human will and the natural desire and yearning for God that was harmonized with divine grace. His Christian optimism was based upon his understanding of the doctrines of creation and redemption.

Article by Patrick Careyn in Biographical Dictionary of Christian Theologians. ed. Patrick W. Carey , Joseph T. Lienhard . (Greenwood Press. ,Westport, CT, 2000 )


 xxxx» cont












xcxxcxxc  F ” “ This Webpage was created for a workshop held at Saint Andrew's Abbey, Valyermo, California in 1990....x....   “”.