Francis de Sales

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Be aware that young people have to be able to make their own mistakes and that times change.
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Saint Francis de Sales (in French, St François de Sales) (21 August 1567 - 28 December 1622) was bishop of Geneva and a Roman Catholic saint. He worked to convert Protestants back to Catholicism, was an accomplished preacher, and wrote books on religious topics.


  • Those who love to be feared fear to be loved, and they themselves are more afraid than anyone, for whereas other men fear only them, they fear everyone.
    • Quoted by Bishop Jean-Pierre Camus in The Spirit of Saint Francis de Sales, ch. 7, sct. 3 (1952)
  • There are no galley-slaves in the royal vessel of divine love—every man works his oar voluntarily!
    • Quoted by Bishop Jean-Pierre Camus in The Spirit of Saint Francis de Sales, ch. 7, sct. 3 (1952)

Introduction to the Devout Life (1609)

  • The damned are in the abyss of Hell, as within a woeful city, where they suffer unspeakable torments, in all their senses and members, because as they have employed all their senses and their members in sinning, so shall they suffer in each of them the punishment due to sin.
    • Pt. 2, ch. 15
  • Make friends with the angels, who though invisible are always with you.... Often invoke them, constantly praise them, and make good use of their help and assistance in all your temporal and spiritual affairs.
    • Pt. 2, ch. 16
  • It is the mark of a mean, vulgar and ignoble spirit to dwell on the thought of food before meal times or worse to dwell on it afterwards, to discuss it and wallow in the remembered pleasures of every mouthful. Those whose minds dwell before dinner on the spit, and after on the dishes, are fit only to be scullions.
    • Pt. 3, ch. 39
  • The elephant, not only the largest but the most intelligent of animals, provides us with an excellent example. It is faithful and tenderly loving to the female of its choice, mating only every third year and then for no more than five days, and so secretly as never to be seen, until, on the sixth day, it appears and goes at once to wash its whole body in the river, unwilling to return to the herd until thus purified. Such good and modest habits are an example to husband and wife.
    • Pt. 3, ch. 39
  • Marital intercourse is certainly holy, lawful and praiseworthy in itself and profitable to society, yet in certain circumstances it can prove dangerous, as when through excess the soul is made sick with venial sin, or through the violation and perversion of its primary end, killed by mortal sin; such perversion, detestable in proportion to its departure from the true order, being always mortal sin, for it is never lawful to exclude the primary end of marriage which is the procreation of children.
    • Pt. 3, ch. 39


  • Do not wish to be anything but what you are, and try to be that perfectly.
  • Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself.
  • Reputation is rarely proportioned to virtue.
  • What does it matter whether God speaks to us from amongst the thorns or the flowers?

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