If you are a regular visitor to Mid Bay News (we hope you are!) you’ve probably noticed a little gold icon (literally) in the bottom right-hand corner of our web pages with a man on the inside.
That’s our buddy, St. Francis de Sales.
So who is this guy?
Pope Pius XI named St. Francis de Sales the patron saint of Catholic Journalists and writers because of his very, very many well-reasoned pamphlets, articles, essays and books about the Roman Catholic Church. Francis was a prolific writer and even wrote a couple of books to go along with his many pamphlets about Catholicism.
Francis was born in Savoy, Southeast France, 1567 to a noble family who expected him to become your run-of-the-mill nobleman. His father expected him to become a lawyer and also required him to practice horseback riding and the use of a sword. He’d initially followed his dad’s urging to become a nobleman -even earning his law degree from the University of Padua.
Francis always really wanted to be a priest.
Eventually, after a knock-down, drag-out fight with his dad that would eventually involve people close to the Pope himself – his dad backed down, and Francis became a priest. Once a priest – he proved the pen mightier than the sword.
He began to write to hundreds of people who would regularly write him for his advice. Many days, he would spend hours writing letters back to people who wrote him with questions.
But his personal correspondence was just the beginning of his impact on the church.
St. Francis de Sales wrote prolifically – and was one of the early adopters of what we would call mass communication today. He used the printing press to get his ideas out to the public both near and far. In addition to his mass communication efforts, he kept up an enormous volume of correspondence with people worldwide. He mostly advised people in their faith with God.
The guy wrote a lot and was pretty amazing at it, too. He still has 15 books in print today!
In 1602, the Pope named Francis Bishop of Geneva – not an easy assignment. Early 17th century Geneva was not a fan of Bishops, Popes or Catholics, and it was made pretty clear to Francis what would happen if he were to tarry too long inside the city’s gates.
That didn’t dissuade Francis from doing his job well. His writing helped him bring 40,000 people to the Roman Catholic faith. He also traveled and preached extensively in the area as well – though he only set foot inside the city limits of Geneva twice during his time as bishop because of the threat on his life. Mostly through the use of the printed word, which traveled farther than he ever could.
St. Francis de Sales’ influence also inspired an order of priests called the Salesians of Don Bosco. The order was founded by a priest, St. John Bosco, who was inspired by St. Francis de Sales to help poor children get an education during the Industrial Revolution.
The Salesians continue to educate the underserved people of the world today!
So happy feast day of St. Francis de Sales from the team here at Mid Bay News!
The easy answer: We’re Catholic! Mid Bay News is owned and operated by two practicing Catholics, Christopher and Abby Saul (We’re married). Our commitment to providing fair and honest coverage of the news comes straight from what we believe as Catholic Christians.
But the saint also has some personal meaning for us. When we first met – I (Christopher) was a journalist and a relatively new Catholic who didn’t know much about the church’s rich history in using mass communications to reach people worldwide for Jesus.
Abby was raised as a Catholic and takes her faith very seriously. When we met, Abby was in a “St. Francis de Sales” phase of her life – reading everything that she could that he had written. He covered everything from becoming a better Christian to the Protestant Reformation and more!
Many of our first conversations were about what I was reading in the book by St. Francis, his life and what we could learn from his example to become better people.
Seven years and two kids later – we are still big fans of St. Francis de Sales!
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