St. Francis de Sales

Artist: 
Julie Lonneman

Artist's Narrative:
Saint Francis de Sales (1567-1622) was bishop of Geneva, Switzerland at the time of the Counter Reformation. Francis is renowned as a gifted preacher and writer who believed that holiness was possible for everyone and not just for monks and nuns, a radical idea at the time. He wrote his most famous book, Introduction to the Devout Life, for these ordinary people in 1608. In it, he counseled busy lay people to "retire at various times into the solitude of your own heart, even while outwardly engaged in discussions or transactions with others, and talk to God."

What greater honor or grace, what more real and perfect happiness can we desire, than that of being loved by God? Yet our hearts allow themselves to be carried away by their caprices and go from creature to creature, just as if they were going from house to house, to see if they can find lodgings and discover real satisfaction. All in vain! God, Who has reserved the human heart for Himself, has forbidden all creatures to give our hearts genuine satisfaction and contentment, so that we are forced to return to Our Lord. And even if we return to Him more by force than by love, God does not refuse to restore us to His grace, to give us back the place we had previously enjoyed, and to caress us without inflicting any reproaches.
—Saint Francis de Sales (Sermons 46; O. X, pp. 45-46)

His feast day is January 24.

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