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St Francis de Sales

Born in a castle to wealthy and powerful parents, in 1567, at Chateau of Thorens, Savoy, his family expected that he would carry on the family line, and become a lawyer.

He studied at Padua University, and gained his doctorate in law.

Returning home he was appointed as Senate advocate. However he received a message "Leave all and follow me", which he understood to be a call to the priesthood.

His family fiercely opposed this, but his determination and gentle ways won them over.

He was appointed Bishop of Geneva at age 35, and loved working with children.A prolific writer, he died in 1622 at Lyons and is buried at Annecy. He was canonised as a Saint on 19 April 1665 by Pope Alexander VII, and became the patron saint of writers, educators, teachers, journalists, and deaf people, and was honoured with the title "Doctor of the Church".

Of his many sayings, a few that I particularly like are -

"We must fear God out of love, not love Him out of fear"

"An action of small value performed with much love of God is far more excellent than one of a higher virtue, done with less love of God."

"Undertake all of your duties with a calm mind and try to do them one at a time. If you try to do them all at once, or without order, your spirits will be so overcharged and depressed that they will likely sink under the burden and nothing will be done."

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