March 2, 2011.
Speaking to a packed crowd in the Paul VI Audience Hall, Benedict XVI
delivered his general audience speaking about Saint Francis de Sales.
A seventeenth century bishop who worked to convert the many
Protestants of Geneva at the time back to Catholicism. The Pope
called him a revolutionary in his call for lay people to be saints.
Francis became a priest and then Bishop of Geneva, at that time a
stronghold of Calvinism. His fine education, his personal gifts of
charity, serenity and openness to dialogue, together with his
brilliance as a spiritual guide, made Francis a leading figure of his
His writings included the “Introduction to the Devout Life,”
which was widely read throughout Catholic and Protestant circles. He
said that all Christians are called to sanctity in their proper state
of life. Something that helped shaped the Second Vatican Council's
universal call to holiness.
Pope noted his other writings helped to spread these ideas through
the Catholic community and can still serve as a reminder for today's
on the Love of God' develops this teaching, stressing that we find
ourselves and our true freedom in the love of God. The Christian
humanism of Saint Francis de Sales has lost none of its relevance
Pius XI proclaimed Saint Francis de Sales as the patron saint of
writers and journalists due to his own extensive work in the field.
He also serves as the saint for the deaf after he developed his own
sign language to communicate with them.
XVI reminded the audience that this great Saint can help guide each
one of them in their own pursuit of happiness.