Saints and Saintly Dominicans – 29 January

detail of a stained glass window of Saint Francis of Assisi; date unknown, artist unknown; Church of Sainte Marguerite, Le Vésinet, Yvelines, France; photographed on 21 August 2012 by Reinhardhauke; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsSaint Francis de Sales, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Saint Francis founded the Order of the Visitation, whose members he desired should practice ardent charity and complete subjection and apply themselves to the perfect accomplishment of little things. He was able to preserve the most unalterable sweetness under irritating circumstances, and thus gained many souls among both Protestants and Catholics. “Who does not know,” he used to say, “that you can catch more flies with a little honey than with a hundred barrels of vinegar?” This sweetness and gentleness was the fruit of earnest effort, as was proved after his death by the clots of blood which had formed on his heart, through the violence he had used to overcome himself. His most beautiful work is the “Treatise on the Love of God.” During his stay in Rome in 1608 he became affiliated to the Order of Saint Dominic, and it was to two of our Fathers of the Convent of Lyons that he entrusted the examination of his book on the “Devout Life.” Pius IX declared him a Doctor of the Church. In truth, apart from his works of controversy against heretics, he may well be called the Doctor of true devotion, for having explained clearly from its foundations the application of laws to various states of life, and corrected deviations from them. He also labored in the most successful manner for the triumph of the faith, for the sanctification of priests, the perfection of religious, both men and women, the conversion of worldlings and the salvation of souls (1622).

Prayer

Saint Francis de Sales, teach me to make piety attractive to all.

Practice

Read the eighth chapter of Book III of the “Devout Life.”