Saint Francis de Sales

Saint Francis de Sales. Patron Saint of writers and journalists.

Saint Francis de Sales. Patron Saint of writers and journalists.

Annelise Motto, Staffer

Did you know that there is a saint to pray to when you are having trouble writing your AP Lang paper or your article for El Cid?

This past Tuesday, January 24th, was the feast of St. Francis de Sales. He is the patron saint of writers and journalists. St. Francis was born in the French part of Switzerland in 1567. Even though his father wanted him to pursue law and politics, St. Francis knew he was called to serve God. At the age of 24 he graduated with a law degree. To please his father he also rode horses and did fencing. One day while riding, he fell off the horse three times and all three times his sword and its casing fell to the ground in the shape of a cross. He believed this was a sign from God to do more with his law degree than be a lawyer.

St. Francis became a priest on December 18, 1593. During his earlier years in the priesthood, he was an evangelizer and worked diligently to bring back those who had left the Church or went to other religions. Francis wrote a pamphlet about the Church’s doctrine and he would distribute them by the 1000s. This was one of the first instances of a written document being published to bring people to the Church. He is also known for writing 100s of letters to people asking for spiritual direction. It has been estimated that he brought 40,000 people to Catholicism.

Francis is also considered responsible for championing the teaching that ordinary people are called to holiness. Up until this time period, it was believed that only the clergy and those in religious life (nuns and brothers) were called to live a holy life. Francis preached that all Christians were called to holiness and sanctity. He taught that everyone in their life and careers and relationships should try to be more like Christ. He even declared that Christian marriage and family life is a vocation and calls to be more Christlike. One of his most famous writings was called The Introduction to the Devout Life which was written in his characteristic, gentle and easy to read way, meant for ordinary people. Even though many disagreed with him, he continued to write many pamphlets directed toward ordinary people giving spiritual direction for all kinds of real life situations and communities. He explained how one could achieve holiness in regular everyday life and that it did not require one to become a nun or priest to do that; that even in our busy lives one can find time to pray and be Christlike in their daily actions.

They say St. Francis’ writings laid the foundation for the Second Vatican Council, proclaiming the theme of a universal call to holiness and reaffirmed the teachings of Jesus that all who are baptized are called to be Christlike.

Even with his busy life as a bishop and writer, he found time with his friend who is also a saint, St. Jane Frances de Chantal, to found the Sisters of the Visitation. These women were called to practice humility, piety and charity. They worked initially with the poor and sick but later also were present in schools to educate.

St. Francis died in 1622, at only 55 years old. He accomplished a lot for the Church in his relatively short life. He was beautified in 1661 and canonized in 1665. In 1923, Pope Pius XI named him the patron saint of Catholic writers, Catholic press and journalists because of all the pamphlets he wrote and his influence on the writings of the Second Vatican Council.

Nicole Moore, 23′ comments on how journalism has impacted her life and how it has given her “a creative outlet that through my research I have learned more about my faith.” Nicole has researched many myths and misconceptions people have about the Catholic Church. She enjoys interviewing different teachers and students around campus. Elle Brennan, 25’ enjoys “learning about myself through writing and expressing my views and passions on paper.” Elle likes “meeting new people through conducting interviews and being able to make a connection with them.” She wants to continue her writing career in journalism in the future.

So next time you are feeling challenged while writing your English paper or essay for your college application, say this prayer to St. Francis de Sales:
“May the Lord guide me and all those who write. Through your prayers, St. Francis de Sales, I ask for your intercession as I attempt to bring the written word to the world. Let us pray that God takes me in the palm of His hand and inspires my creativity and inspires my success. St. Francis de Sales, you understand the dedication required. Pray for God to inspire and allow ideas to flow. In His name, let my words reflect my faith for others to read.” Amen.