Prayer of St. Francis de Sales
Be at Peace
Do not look forward in fear to the changes of life;
rather look to them with full hope as they arise.
God, whose very own you are, will deliver you from out of them.
He has kept you hitherto, and He will lead you safely through all things;
and when you cannot stand it, God will bury you in his arms.
Do not fear what may happen tomorrow;
the same everlasting Father who cares for you today
will take care of you then and everyday.
He will either shield you from suffering, or will give you unfailing strength to bear it.
Be at peace, and put aside all anxious thoughts and imagination.
Born in a French castle to an upper-class family, Francis, the eldest of 12, was educated at a privileged Jesuit school and groomed to carry on his family’s tradition by becoming a lawyer. Always respected for his great patience, Francis experienced a personal faith crisis during his teenage years. During a theological discussion focused on predestination, Francis suffered internally, becoming physically ill with spiritual turmoil. When Francis recovered, he vowed to dedicate his life to God.
While studying law and theology at the University of Padua, Francis continued on his path to serve the Lord by deciding to become a priest. Signs from God encouraged him to pursue a life of self-sacrifice and devotion to the Catholic Church. One day, when Francis was riding his horse, he fell three times. Each time he fell, his sword came out of its scabbard and the two pieces came to rest on the ground in the shape of a cross.
When Francis completed his studies (1592), he was certified as a doctor of both law and theology. With his mind set on entering the priesthood, Francis returned home to find that his father had not only arranged several career opportunities for Francis, but had also chosen an heiress for Francis to marry. After explaining his decision to enter the priesthood, Francis continued his journey of faith and became a priest in 1593. He was appointed provost of the diocese of Geneva, Switzerland.
During Francis’ lifetime, the Protestant Reformation threatened the Catholic Church, as many Catholics turned to a new faith. Through extraordinary evangelization methods, Francis reached out to his brothers and sisters in Christ, even converting some Protestants to Catholicism. Francis traveled through the countryside in Switzerland spreading the Word of God. He wrote down his sermons and placed them under people’s doors. A motivated man, Francis’s efforts are reflective of his strong beliefs. For example, Francis learned sign language solely to teach a deaf man about God. Because of this, he is the Patron Saint of the Deaf.
Francis was named Bishop of Geneva in 1602. He continued to be recognized by many for his patience, compassion and friendship. In 1610, Francis founded the Order of the Visitation with Jane Frances de Chantel, who was also named a saint. With a heavy workload and endless obligations to fulfill, Francis was a busy man. He remained active until the end of his life, often using his writing talent to convey his message.
Francis died on December 22, 1622 and was buried on January 24, 1623. He was canonized in 1655.
Francis is recognized and respected for his writings. His most well-known books are Introduction to the Devout Life and A Treatise on the Love of God. In addition to these books, Francis wrote many pamphlets and communicated through letters. Written with love and patience for all, his letters resonate with people of faith throughout the world.
Francis was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Blessed Pius IX in 1877. In 1923, Francis was recognized as the patron saint of writers and journalists by Pope Pius XI. The Salesians of Don Bosco, the Oblates of Saint Francis de Sales, the Missionaries of Saint Francis de Sales and the Saint Francois Atoll in the Seychelles Islands are named in his honor.
“By giving your self to God, you not only receive Himself in exchange, but eternal life as well.”
“Do not wish to be anything but what you are, and try to be that perfectly.”
“Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.”
“Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections, but instantly set about remedying them – every day begin the task anew.”
“Make friends with the angels, who though invisible are always with you. Often invoke them, constantly praise them and make good use of their help and assistance in all your temporal and spiritual affairs.”