St. Francis de Sales: His life & Writings
Bishop and Doctor of the Church
St. Francis de Sales was born near Annecy, in Savoy, in 1567, shortly after the conclusion of the Council of Trent. He studied the law, but abandoning the prospect of a brilliant career in that field, was ordained to the priesthood in 1593, despite the opposition of his father. His first mission was to re-evangelize the people of his home district (the Chablais), who had gone over to Calvinism. Always in danger of his life from hostile Calvinists, he preached with such effectiveness that after four years most of the people had returned to the Church. In his preaching against Calvinism he was driven by love rather than a desire to win: “whoever wants to preach effectively must preach with love." A Calvinist minister gave him the following tribute: “if we honored anyone as a saint, I know of no-one since the days of the Apostles more worthy of it than this man”.
St. Francis was appointed bishop of Geneva, the city of John Calvin, in 1602, and spent the rest of his life reforming and reorganizing the diocese and in caring for the souls of his people by preaching and spiritual guidance. He became the spiritual director of St. Jane de Chantal with whom he founded the nuns of the Visitation in 1610.
In his most famous writings, the Introduction to the Devout Life (1609) and the Treatise on the Love of God (1616), St Francis taught that we can all attain a devout and spiritual life, whatever our position in society, that true holiness is not reserved for monks and hermits alone. His wrote that “religious devotion does not destroy: it perfects” every state in life and his spiritual counsel is dedicated to making people more holy by making them more themselves. In this he anticipates the Second Vatican Council's teaching that the call to holiness is truly Universal (Lumen Gentium, chapter 4).
St. Francis de Sales died at Lyons on December 28, 1622, and was buried at Annecy on January 24 which is the day each year that the Church honors him in her liturgy. He was canonized in 1665 and declared a Doctor of the Church in 1877 and Patron of the Catholic Press in 1923.
Personal Prayer: Pathway to Joy CD
Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Ph.D.
Everyone knows that personal prayer is important. You can't expect to deepen a relationship with God talking with Him only once a week! But how, in the midst of the busy, noisy life we all lead, can we develop a pattern of daily prayer that really works? And if we are successful in carving out some moments for prayer, what do we do? How should we spend that time in way that would be most fruitful?
Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio has taught spiritual theology academically, but, more importantly, he's had plenty of practice applying that tradition to everyday life. With a family of seven, a business, and a non-profit corporation to run, he knows the challenges that a busy, active life can pose to the Christian who wants to pray. In this talk, he lays down principles and gives practical suggestions on how busy laypeople can develop a prayer life that leads to joy and personal transformation.
Audio CD $8.00 Audio Tape - $7.00