Today we celebrate the feast of St Francis de Sales.
St Francis de Sales was born to a noble family near Geneva, Switzerland in 1567. Although from a young age he felt a strong calling to serve God as a priest his father wanted him to be lawyer. After completing his studies and much disagreement from this father he was ordained a priest in 1593.
Francis decided to led an expedition to convert his calvinist neighbours to catholicism and though his gentleness and patience he is believed to have brought 40,000 people to the catholic church.
In 1602 Francis was consecrated bishop of Geneva and devoted his life to preaching, visiting and instruction of the people of his diocese. He believed the first duty of a bishop was to give spiritual direction to lay people who were living real lives in the real world.
He died on the 28th December 1622 after giving his last piece of advice: “Humility.”
One of his quotes is
“Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength.”
This is something we see in the strength of a mother as she provides for the needs of her children with patience, care and gentleness.