Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales - February
Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

THE TITLE: Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales (changed from the Italian Buon Giorno . . . Teachings and Examples from the Life of Saint Francis de Sales). This replaced the previous title and subtitle: Saint Francis de Sales in Teachings and Example . . . A sacred Diary Extracted from His Life and Works by the Vistandines of Rome. This title was taken from the first edition (Ferrari, Rome, 1953).

CONTENT AND STRUCTURE: Every page contains a thought from the works of Saint Francis de Sales and a brief account of some event of his life which took place on that date. The first taken from the Oeuvres d'Annecy with an indication of volume and page and then the work form which the passage has been taken (e.g. Sermons, Treatises, Letters). As far as the two major woks are concerned, the book or part and chapter have been added, for further clarification. This will allow the reader to refer to the passages for personal consultation or greater understanding. The anecdotes have been taken from the work Anne Sainte, with an indication of both volume and page. Because of the brevity of the selections chosen, we have added a maxim taken from a book by an anonymous author, Massime di S. Francesco di Sales (Salesian Press, Milan, 1929).

TEXT AND FORMAT: The Italian revision of the book made necessary the rereading of the selections chosen and a comparison with the original French. Every effort has been made to keep the gentle tone of Saint Francis de Sales.


A.S. Annee Sainte des Religieuse de la Visitation Sainte Marie, (12 vol. ed.)

D.S. Diario Sacre extracted from his life and works, compiled by the Visitandines of Rome. (Ed. Ferrari, Rome 1953)

INT. Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life

Hamon P. Hamon, Vie de St. Francois de Sales, (2 vol., Paris 1854)

O. Oeuvres de St. Francois de Sales, publiees par lessouis des Religieuses de la Visitation du Premier Monastere d'Annecy (26 vol. , Annecy 1892-1932)

Francis de Sales, Meditazioni per la Solitudine

T.L.G. Francis de Sales, Treatise on the Love of God

Please note: If you buy the book, the bible quotes are not from the Douay Reims, in putting these meditations online for The Catacombs, I have
changed the Bible Quotes to reflectthe Douay Reims Bible.

Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

Teachings and Examples from the Life of the Saint by Salesiana Publishers

February 1st (page 32)
     Many are satisfied with carrying the Lord on their tongue, recounting His marvels and praising Him with great ardor; others carry Him in their hearts with tender and loving affection, which becomes part and parcel of their lives, thinking of Him and speaking to Him. But these two ways of carrying the Lord do not amount to much if the third element of carrying Him in their arms by good works is missing.

(Sermons 2; O. IX, p. 22)
     Yesterday we were considering the infancy of Francis of Sales, so today let us be occupied with the early years of his youth. To make himself worthy of the gifts of God, he passed his time in the study of literature and virtue throughout the springtime of his life, which others ordinarily fill with vain occupations. Serious studies, holy conferences, self-restraint, obedience – this was the life of the upright young man who thus laid down solid foundations for the great edifice of his perfection. In his youth he prescribed for himself spiritual exercises adapted to each day and night, providing for solitude and for conversation, for internal and external worship of God, and for Holy Communion. All this is so full of devotion that in merely reading them one feels
the inspiration of grace. After His confirmation at this time, he joined the Confraternity of the Rosary and the Sodality of Mary, conducted by the Jesuits , where he became a prefect and observed the rule regularly. He entrusted himself to the Madonna by a vow of chastity and resolved to recite daily the crown of the seven stations, commonly called the “Crown of Thorns.” Often he retired to a quiet spot to pray, away from distractions, graciously saying to his tutor, “I am going to do my watch at the court of the Queen of Heaven; I beg you not to come and disturb me.”

(A.S. II, p. 1)
No one is esteemed before God for having lived long – but only for having lived well.  For nothing is small in the service of God.
Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

Teachings and Examples from the Life of the Saint by Salesiana Publishers

February 2nd (page 33)

      What greater or more profound humility can be imagined than that practiced by the Lord and His holy mother, one coming to the temple to be offered like all the sons of sinful men and other to purify herself like all other women? It is certainly no heroic effort on our part to abase ourselves or humiliate ourselves, since abasement and humiliation is often our due. Yet no sooner do little humiliations come our way than we immediately feel resentment, and, turning our backs on such a beautiful virtue, we wish to be esteemed as somebody!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          (Sermons 28; O. IX, pp. 251-252)

       Today Francis de Sales presents himself to us a young man of twenty-five. Having completed his studies, instead of formulating, ambitious and purelyhuman plans, as the majority of young men of his age and position would have done, he prudently traveled in France and Italy, and with deep piety made pilgrimages to Rome and Loreto. He received the title of doctor but refused the purple robes of a senator and the offer of a very suitable marriage.At the age of twenty-six he received the cassock, at twenty-seven he said his first Mass, and at twenty-eight he took over the mission of Chablais. There, carrying out the duties of the apostolate, he brought about an extraordinary number of conversions – over 72,000! From then on, as a faithful evangelical worker, he put his hand to the plough and never once turned back. He traveled to Rome, Turin and Paris to consolidate the state of the churches; he reconciled parishes and returned them to the fold of the churches; he reconciled parishes and returned them to the fold of the Catholic Church, recovering ecclesiastical goods usurped by Protestant ministers and laymen. This cost him no less difficulty, no less effort than did the conversion of souls. Graciously he remarked that “having brought the sheep back to the fold, it was necessary to provide pasture and support for the pastors who would be the shepherds of the flock.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               (A.S. II, p. 27)

                                                                                      A really humble person never thinks anyone has done him or her wrong.
Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

Teachings and Examples from the Life of the Saint by Salesiana Publishers

February 3rd (page 34)

    Just as little children learn to speak by listening to their mothers and lisping words after them, so also by keeping close to our Savior and meditating on and observing His words, actions and affections, we learn by His grace to speak, act and will like Him. I assure you that we cannot go to God the Father except through this gate . . . Set aside an hour every day before dinner, or early in the morning when your mind is less distracted and fresher after the night’s rest. Do not extend it for more than an hour unless your spiritual director expressly tells you to do so.

(INT. Part II, Ch. 1; O. III, p. 70)

    Let us continue to consider our saint in the various stages of his life; He was consecrated bishop at the age of thirty-five, and God made him a father, not only of a particular people and a particular diocese, but father and universal director, a patriarch and founder of a religious order, a reformer of convents, a mediator between prices and kings, a restorer of devotion, the author of ascetical books highly valued in the Church of God. Finally, he became a perfect man, a complete father to everyone, a worker of miracles and a powerful protector of all who sought his intercession before God.

    We know on the evidence of Sister Marie Adrienne Fichet, the seventh member of the Order of the Visitation, and from the memoirs of the former parish priest of Saint Maurice of Annecy, that in 1613 Mother Chantal became seriously ill with tonsillitis. Francis de Sales sent a message to the parish priest to bring him the relic of Saint Blaise. When he saw him coming he said, “Father, come with me because Mother Chantal is in danger of death. Let us pray for her!” Arriving at the convent, the saint touched the sick person with the relic, and she was immediately cured. Good Sister Fichet, a little hastily, said in a somewhat loud voice, “Surely there was no need to go to Armenia to look for a saint of the fourth century. His Lordship could have cured mother himself had he so wished.” With tears in his eyes, the humble prelate strongly rebuked her in the presence of all the company, imposing on her a penance and instructing her to ask forgiveness of the saintly bishop and martyr, Blaise.

(A.S. II, p. 65)
Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

Teachings and Examples from the Life of the Saint by Salesiana Publishers

February 4th (page 35)
     Let us embrace the good Jesus, living in daily attachment to Him and ready to die serenely in His presence. Place Him in your heart, like Solomon on his ivory throne. Make frequent visits there as the queen of Sheba did. Listen to His sacred words that He continually utters for our inspiration. Take care that your heart is always made of pure and firm ivory. Be constant in your resolutions and pure in your affections.

(Letters 2010; O. XXI, p. 658)
     Today we will give a general overview of our saint, and, since he experienced both good health and sickness, let us consider how he acted under both these conditions. He had a delicate complexion but enjoyed fairly good health. He gave of himself without reservation to the service of God and of the Church. He was very austere with himself, but without affectation, faithfully following all the inspirations of grace. He was never idle and knew how to regulate his activities so as to render them not only useful to his neighbor but profitable to his own personal sanctity. When he was sick he was most patient, resigned and obedient. Four times in his life he was seriously ill and at the point of death. The first time was in Paris, where he fell victim to a state of depression caused by the violence of a terrible temptation, from which he was  miraculously liberated by the Madonna in the Church of Saint Stephen of the Greeks. The second time was during his studies at Padua, when he made that admirable act of humility of handing over his corpse to the students of surgery. The third time was during his mission in the Chablais, when he was exposed to victims of the plague; it was then that his good mother brought him to Sales, where neither care nor prayers were spared to obtain a perfect recovery. The fourth time was when he was a bishop and was brought very close to death by a serious fever; then his only pleasure was to listen to hymns in honor of the Madonna.

(A.S. I, p. 90)

Blessed indeed would we be if we received everything that happens as from God’s
Fatherly hand. How our problems and troubles would be calmed!
Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

Teachings and Examples from the Life of the Saint by Salesiana Publishers

(February 5th (page 36)

     Complain as little as possible about the wrongs you suffer. Undoubtedly, a person who complains commits a sin by doing so, since self-love always feels that injuries are worse than they really are. Above all, do not complain to irascible or fault-finding persons. If you feel the need to correct an offense or restore your peace of mind by complaining to someone, do not to those who are even-tempered and really love God. Instead of calming your mind, the others will create worse difficulties, and rather than pulling out the thorn that is hurting you, they will drive it deeper into your foot.

(INT. Part III, Ch. 3; O. III, p. 136)

     Today, February 5th, was once the octave of the feast of our saint. We thank God for having favored him with so much grace. King Henry IV remarked that God seemed to free Francis de Sales of any vice and adorn him with every virtue. All his years, months, weeks and days – even his every moment was dedicated to God. Every year he gave his soul a thorough going over; every month he renewed his vows and his resolutions, as he had taught in The Introduction to a Devout Life, and as he prescribed for his institute. Every day he retired spiritually into one of the sacred wounds of Our Lord Jesus Christ, beginning and ending the week in the sacred side or in the Savior’s heart. Apart from when he was seriously ill or prevented by some very urgent necessity, he never missed celebrating Mass daily, and was most faithful to his morning and evening prayers, to his examination of conscience, to his prayers in common with his household, and to the direction of his house. He asked all his dependents to make the sign of the cross whenever they heard the clock striking the hour; he did himself,  without any show of human respect, wherever he happened to be at that moment, saying, “May God be blessed; eternity approaches; soon our last hour will ring out.” Truly it can be said of this great saint that he lived and breathed and spent himself for God alone. He presented a standard of devotion that was solid, yet free of scruples, affectation or human respect. His ideal was to imitate Jesus Christ in his daily life, in a manner supernatural and angelic.

(A.S. II, p. 114)

A good vocation is simply a firm and constant will to serve Almighty God
in the way and in the places to which He has called us.
Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

Teachings and Examples from the Life of the Saint by Salesiana Publishers

February 6th (page 37)

      Certainly nothing can so effectively humble us before God’s mercy as the multitude of His benefits, and nothing can so deeply humble us before His justice as the great number of our sins. Let us consider often what He has done for us and what we have done against Him. As we reflect on our sins one by one, let us also consider His graces one by one. There is no need to fear that knowledge of His gifts will make us proud, if only we remember this truth, that they are from Him and not from ourselves. A lively consideration of graces received makes us humble, because knowledge of them begets gratitude for them.


(INT. Part III, Ch. 5 ; O. III, p. 146)

      On February 6th, 1606, Francis de Sales, who had retired in solitude to the Jesuits of Chambery came out to preach the Lenten sermon to the senate of Savoy. During this sermon the saint’s face was seen by many to shine with a brilliant light issuing from a great crucifix and reflecting on him. It was as if the dying God-Man wanted to show everyone that Francis was His faithful servant who drew all his light from the divine eclipse of His passion and death. The sermons, confessions and conferences of this great prelate produced extraordinary effects at Chambery for the conversion of Protestants and the growth of Christian piety. This large crucifix is still preserved in the convent of Chambery.

(A.S. II, p. 145)

                                                                                          Christian piety always has only one object, God. However, it suggests various

                                                                                           ways of serving Him, according to varying states of life and social conditions.

                                                                                                               So in whatever state we live, we can please God.
Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

Teachings and Examples from the Life of the Saint by Salesiana Publishers
February 7th(page 38)
     In every class of society and in every position, we find the reprobate and the elect. Who is he, then, who has no fear, who is sure he will not fall, while he does not give God the service He deserves and does not correspond to the graces proper to his position in life? We see Judas condemned and Matthias elected. Judas received far more graces than Matthias, who was not even called and numbered among the apostles by the Lord, but only elected by the apostles after the Ascension. Nevertheless, Matthias faithfully persevered and died a saintly death, while the miserable Judas, after being an apostle, became an apostate! This gives every one of us reason to fear, in whatever class or condition we find ourselves, because there are dangers everywhere.
(Sermons 58; O. X, pp. 248-251)
     On February 7th, 1608, Francis de Sales was busy giving the necessary instructions for the provision of bells and vestments for the churches of Gailllard, Very. Monthoux and other parishes near Geneva in which he had reestablished the Catholic Faith, as is apparent from a letter that a Capuchin Father, Sebastian of Saint John of Morcana, has written: “My Lord, |I willingly leave to carry put the obedience by which you send me to preach in France, but not without a keen sense of regret. If the same obedience would send me one day to corner of your Savoyard vineyard, I would perform my humble ministry with a spirit and indescribable joy under the guidance of your blessing. The bearer of this letter will, in the meantime, give you a most exact account by which you will be able to see how the money you have contributed has been used for the enrichment of the churches. Priestly vestments have been purchased and the rest of the money used to purchase bells for the churches of Gailard, Very Monthoux, Annemasse and Tournay. Your Excellency will doubtless see to their delivery after they have been blessed. I repeat to you, my Lord . . . Lest anything be lacking from your apostolate, take great care of all the churches of God  devastated by Protestants and restored by your labors. I left behind the two portable altars that Your Lordship gave me to hand over to my substitute, so as not to leave sacred things where profane hands can get hold of therm.”
(A.S. II, p. 176)
                                                                                     By observing our state in life faithfully, we make our lives and wills conform to the will of God.
Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

Teachings and Examples from the Life of the Saint by Salesiana Publishers
February 8th(page 39)

Do not get all worked up about the future disasters of this world, which may never occur anyway; when if they do occur, God will give you the strength to bear them. Jesus commanded Saint Peter to walk on the water, but Peter, frightened by a gust of wind and the storm, almost drowned. Then he pleaded with the Lord, Who said to him, “What little faith you have . . . why did you falter? “ And immediately Jesus stretching forth his hand took hold of him, and said to him: O thou of little faith, why didst thou doubt? [cf. Mt 14:31] If God asks you to walk on the turbulent waters of adversity, do not doubt, do not fear, because God is with you. Have courage and you will be safe.

(Letters 1420; O. XVII, p. 211)

On February 8th, 1606, while Francis de Sales was about to mount the pulpit to preach in the presence of the whole court of Chambery and imprudent person came to tell him that, because of his refusal to sign a warning he did not consider just, the magistrates had ordered the confiscation of his possessions. The saint smiled without giving the slightest indication that he was worried. “Well,” he said, “this is a sign that God wants me to totally spiritual, since He is taking away my temporal goods.” He preached with admirable calmness of spirit, without showing any resentment for the insult unjustly received, and his sermon was so blessed by God that two gentlemen from Flanders, who were just passing through after a trip to Italy, were converted. Aware of the communication that had been given to Francis, they returned that evening to the saint to be better instructed, saying that a man so detached from worldly goods must surely be a man of God and a teacher of truth, since passions had so little hold on him.

(A.S. II, p. 210)
Let us rejoice in the good that others do and even back up their efforts.
God may be better served by others than by ourselves.
Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

Teachings and Examples from the Life of the Saint by Salesiana Publishers
February 9th (page 40)

     Death, afflictions and other disasters which make up a large part of life and which are punishments for sin become, through the gentle mercy of God, so many steps to climb up to Heaven, so many means to grow in grace, and so many merits to gain glory. Therefore, it is right to say that we should love poverty, hunger, thirst, sadness, sickness, persecution and death, because they are just punishments for our faults, punishments so tempered by divine mercy that their very bitterness becomes something to be loved.

(T.L. G. Book 3, Ch. 1; O.V, pp. 110-111)

     In 1613, when Francis de Sales was suffering from a severe toothache, the holy mother Chantal sent him a cloth that had touched the relic of Saint Apollonia, asking him to apply it to the affected side of his face while the whole community prayed for his recovery. On the afternoon of the same day, the saint sent the relic back accompanied by the following note. “My dearest daughter, here is your remedy, which for me has been indeed a sovereign remedy since God has dealt with me as a result of your faith, hope and charity. To the glory of God and His holy spouse, I must confess that I did not think I would be able to say Mass today, so swollen was my cheek and mouth, but, having knelt at my kneeler and, out of obedience, applied your relic to my cheek, I said, “My God, if such is Thy holy will, let the prayer of our mother be heard.” The toothache ceased immediately. I remained kneeling there for some time, and Our Lord, in His goodness, suggested to me some good thoughts. But, my daughters, what can I say? . . . When I went out of the chapel, everyone told me that the swelling on my cheek had gone down, and I certainly no longer suffered any pain. Glory to God, who shows forth His wonder in His saints! He wanted me to suffer today to render honor to His holy spouse, Apollonia, and give us another tangible proof of the communion of saints.”
(A.S. II, p. 237)

For the person who believes that God is everything, the world must count as nothing.
Every Day with Saint Francis de Sales

Teachings and Examples from the Life of the Saint by Salesiana Publishers

February 10th
(page 41)

      Humility which does not produce generosity is false, because true humility, after it has said, “I can do nothing, I am good for nothing,” must immediately give way to a generosity of spirit which says, “There is nothing nor can there be anything I cannot do if I place all my faith in God.” The humble soul, relying on this confidence, with great courage takes up anything that is commanded.

(Spiritual Treatise V; O. VI, p. 76)

On February 10th, 1619, Francis de Sales blessed the marriage of Prince Victor Amadeo of Savoy and Mlle. Christine of France. On that occasion he spoke briefly to the princess about the fact that the wedding day and her birthday (1606) coincided and hold her that God, having so united her marriage with her birth, wanted to indicate that she had come into the world to be a sovereign.

Senator Favre, the first president of the Savoy senate, who, together with the saintly bishop and Monsieur de Venue was in charge of the details of this marriage, left in writing, his praise for his holy friend, whose prayers had done so much to bring the marriage about. In fact, one day when it was thought that the matter was a failure and the ambassadors were preparing to return to Savoy, the holy bishop, coming from the altar, said to them, ‘Wait, God will see to everything.”

It was also on this occasion that several courtiers and members of the royal council, speaking of the holy bishop, said that they were at a loss as to what praise or what name to give him, and the Lord of Vendome, grand prior of France, replied that he could only be called The Image of God-Man. And to the new spouse he said that she must come to love the mountains of Savoy, where God had led her to find a hidden treasure – Francis de Sales, a most precious pearl of the Church.

(A.S. II, p. 267)

The Shortest life is the best, provided it leads us to a blessed eternity.


Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 2 Guest(s)