Narrative: Francis was born in the Savoy region of France. He was educated in the humanities and received his doctorate in civil as well as canon law. Upon ordination to the Catholic priesthood, he undertook work in the Chablais region promoting his faith in the midst of the Reformation. As his success with conversions grew, so did his reputation as a preacher and writer in defense of the Catholic faith.
Later, as Bishop of Geneva, Francis met Jane Frances de Chantal, a widowed mother. He became her spiritual guide and together they established a community of sisters. The community spread quickly and Pope Paul V approved the Visitation of Holy Mary as a religious order in 1618.
Unlike many religious before him, Francis wrote letters providing lay people with clear instruction in the ways of piety. Among his many writings are the spiritual classics An Introduction to the Devout Life and Treatise on the Love of God. While offering spiritual direction to those living ordinary lives, Francis proved with his own life that people are able to grow in holiness while actively and passionately tending everyday interests. Much due to the strength of his writings, Pope Pius IX proclaimed St. Francis de Sales a Doctor of the Church in 1877. (This narrative is printed on the back of Note Cards. A copy is included with each plaque and photo.)
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