Posted by: fvbcdm | January 22, 2015

Feast of Saint Vincent Pallotti (22 Jan 2015)

Catholic Daily Message for the Feast of Saint Vincent Pallotti (22 Jan 2015)

[This Saturday] the Church celebrates a very great bishop, spiritual writer, saint and doctor of the Church who had a most remarkable career. He spent his entire life in that beautiful part of Europe called Savoy, which straddles the border between France and Italy. It is in the Alps, and a trip through Savoy is a series of breath-taking scenes, each one prettier than the previous one.

Saint Francis de Sales came from one of the noble houses of that region. His mother, after having several children, wanted at least one more. She prayed to Our Lady at a church in the little city of Annecy, near their castle. The church is called Our Lady of Joy. Madame de Sales’s prayers were answered with great divine generosity; she gave birth to a boy who was both brilliant and very religious. He got a good education, entered the seminary, was ordained priest, and then shortly thereafter the Pope made him the Bishop of the Swiss city of Geneva, just across the mountains from their home. However, that was the 16th century—the days of the Protestant Revolt, and the Calvinist Protestants had made Geneva their headquarters. So strong and all-pervasive was their influence there that it was impossible for a Catholic even to enter the city. So Francis de Sales, Bishop of Geneva, went to the little city of Annecy, on the French side of the border, which was still a very Catholic area, and there he exercised his role as bishop in exile. He was never able to go to Geneva, but smuggled many books and pamphlets which he wrote into the city and did all he could for the support of the Catholics in that general area.

His most famous book is called “Introduction to the Devout Life.” It is one of the classics of spirituality, and I heartily recommend it to anyone seriously interested in deepening his or her relationship with God.

During his years as Bishop he came to know a wealthy widow by the name of Jane Frances de Chantal; with the Bishop’s help, she founded a religious congregation of Sisters called the Order of the Visitation. That group still exists; just a few years after the death of St. Francis, the Bishop, one of the Visitation Sisters, Margaret Mary Alacoque, began to receive visions and messages from the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Those supernatural visits gave rise to the beautiful devotion in the modern Catholic Church to the Heart of our Divine Lord.

It is interesting to note that although Saint Francis de Sales could never even enter his proper diocese, now there are more Catholics than any other single group in the city and diocese of Geneva. And because of his writings which have so illumined the Church, Saint Francis de Sales has been canonized and been declared a Doctor of the Church. Thank you for seeking God’s truth, God Bless you.  Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note: This message was composed some years ago.

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