Saint Francis de Sales was born in the Savoy region of France-Italy in 1567. His priesthood had him work diligently for the restoration of Catholicism in his homeland, reclaiming it from the clutches of the protestant reformation. He became bishop of Geneva, and was known for his writings, work and example. He says that it took him 20 years to conquer his quick temper, but no one ever suspected he had such a problem, because he was known for his good nature and kindness. His perennial meekness and sunny disposition won for him the title of “Gentleman Saint.”
This is a quality that we all wish more people had, and perhaps we wish we had it as well. For all of us who seek to overcome a quick temper, or overcome the disposition to say something we wish we hadn’t, or the tendency to press “send” on a tersely-written email, St. Francis de Sales is our patron. Saint Francis is also known to be the patron of the deaf, since he devised a kind of sign language in order to teach the deaf about God. His beautiful writings have inspired many in their faith and earned him the title of Doctor of the Church.
In a moment we will offer our gifts, and pray for the grace to lead a holy life. Following the example of Saint Francis de Sales, maybe we can call on God for meekness, and humility, and patience. As he once wrote: “The person who possesses Christian meekness is affectionate and tender towards everyone: he is disposed to forgive and excuse the frailties of others; the goodness of his heart appears in a sweet affability that influences his words and actions, presents every object to his view in the most charitable and pleasing light.” Who wouldn’t want to look at the world that way?