Missionary Saints – St. Francis de Sales

If ever there was a saint to inspire our catechetical efforts in the Church today, it is Francis de Sales. Of his many theological writings, Introduction to the Devout Life, has served to illuminate the paths of those wishing to know and love God more. His tender and simple way of explaining the faith can serve as an example to all who echo the message of Christ today. Often his efforts to evangelize were met with hostility and rejection, yet he continued to preach and teach the Catholic faith, always returning evil with good. Pope Pius XI wrote that in order to bring people the light of faith and the comforts of the Christian religion, St. Francis De Sales traveled over physically grueling terrain – the French Alps! When people fled him, he pursued, calling after them loudly. Repulsed brutally, he never gave up the struggle. He was often kicked out of  lodgings, forced to sleep on the snow under the canopy of heaven. He would celebrate Mass though no one would attend. When people left during his homily, he would continue to preach to an empty Church. At no time did he ever lose his spirit of kindness. It was by such means as these that he brought people back to the practice of their Catholic faith.

Saint Francis De Sales offered a genuine Christian witness and solid catechesis which flowed from his faithful prayer and worship. He knew that before one could teach the faith, they first had to know and live it sincerely. He understood catechesis as echoing the love of God one hears in scripture and sacred tradition. He was an effective missionary saint integrating worship, authentic witness, compassion for the poor, and teaching the faith through practical and inspiring instruction.

With the desire to form catechists in the model of St Francis De Sales, the IMF hosted an online Conference in February 2022 featuring national leaders of catechesis and evangelization.  Click here to access the archived materials from the conference.