St. Francis DeSales

Saint Francis de Sales (1567–1622)

This exceptional writer and preacher taught that
• “being who you are and being that well” is the truest way to bring honor to the Creator.
• living out daily “little” virtues like kindness, generosity, gentleness and honesty, lead a person’s heart to the heart of God.

In his time, he served as Bishop of Geneva, and was considered a
•gifted spiritual director    •reformer    •evangelist and catechist

Francis was a contemporary of Shakespeare and Galileo during a rich and tumultuous time in European history.

After his death, Francis de Sales was known as the Gentleman Saint for his gentle, loving spirit and approachable ways as a loving friend. Those characteristics are what make him and his teachings so accessible and meaningful to us today.

For centuries, numerous religious and lay communities have been inspired by Saint Francis and his writings. His teaching on “The Universal Call to Holiness” was embraced most fully in the teachings of Vatican II and resounds in the church of today and tomorrow.

Saint Jane de Chantal (1572–1641)

Although best known as the friend of Saint Francis de Sales, Saint Jane de Chantal was very much a significant woman on her own.

As a dedicated wife and mother, she dealt with the needs of her growing family while still showing compassion for the poor around her. When she was just 29, the husband she dearly loved died following a hunting accident, and Jane was left with a broken heart and the care of her four children. As a young widow and single parent, she encountered severe challenges, but her strong faith gave her the strength she needed.

She had what we would call today a “business mind,” and after her husband’s death, became the administrator of his father’s properties in addition to those of her deceased husband.

With Francis de Sales, her friend and spiritual director, she founded the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary, which today continues to provide a prayerful presence throughout the world. In the U.S. there are both contemplative sisters as well as those who provide education to young women and assistance to the poor.

Jane remained a mother at heart in all of her dealings. Her practical words and experiences offer hope and direction for those living busy and complicated lives today.

St. Jane De Chantal
Don Bosco

Saint John Bosco (16 August 1815– 31 January 1888)

Popularly known as Don Bosco, was an Italian Roman Catholic priest, educator and writer of the 19th century. While working in Turin, where the population suffered many of the effects of industrialization and urbanization, he dedicated his life to the betterment and education of street children, juvenile delinquents, and other disadvantaged youth. He developed teaching methods based on love rather than punishment, a method that became known as the Salesian Preventive System. A follower of the spirituality and philosophy of Saint Francis de Sales, Bosco dedicated his works to him when he founded the Salesians of Don Bosco, based in Turin. Together with Maria Domenica Mazzarello, he founded the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, a religious congregation of nuns dedicated to the care and education of poor girls.

In 1876 Bosco founded a movement of laity, the Association of Salesian Cooperators, with the same educational mission to the poor. In 1875 he began to publish the Salesian Bulletin.The Bulletin has remained in continuous publication, and is currently published in 50 different editions and 30 languages.

Bosco established a network of organizations and centers to carry on his work. Following his beatification in 1929, he was canonized as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church by Pope Pius XI in 1934.

Saint Dominic Savio

Dominic Savio was an Italian adolescent student of Saint John Bosco. He was studying to be a priest when he became ill and died at the age of 14, possibly from pleurisy.

His teacher, John Bosco, had very high regard for Savio, and wrote a biography of his young student, The Life of Dominic Savio. This volume, along with other accounts of him, were critical factors in his cause for sainthood. Despite the fact that many people considered him to have died at too young an age – fourteen – to be considered for sainthood, he was considered eligible for such singular honor on the basis of his having displayed “heroic virtue” in his everyday life. He is the only person of his age group who was declared a saint not on the basis of his having been a martyr, but on the basis of having lived what was seen as a holy life. Savio was canonized a saint on June 12, 1954, by Pope Pius XII, making him the youngest non-martyr to be canonized in the Catholic Church.

Dominic Savio
Louis Brisson

Blessed Louis Brisson

Louis Brisson lived in France in the 19th century. As a diocesan priest, he was struck by the impact of the Industrial Revolution on young souls who were leaving their country homes and going to work in the cities. With the help of Léonie Aviat, he founded the Oblate Sisters of St. Francis de Sales to work with young ladies who were seeking jobs in the textile mills of Troyes.  The Sisters soon entered into the field of education. A few years later, he founded the Oblate Fathers and Brothers who were destined to direct schools in the Salesian spirit and to minister to the God’s people in parishes throughout the world, including extensive work in the Missions.

Louis Brisson was an entrepreneur, scientist and spiritual innovator who saw the needs of his time and applied the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales to meet the needs of those around him. He is the perfect model for the modern man who is seeking to integrate an authentic spiritual life with a life of service to our world.

Mother Mary de Sales Chappuis

Marie-Therese Chappuis was born on June 16, 1793 at Soyhières, a little village in the Swiss Jura and was baptized the same day. Therese spent a very happy childhood within a loving and devotedly Catholic family.

After a spiritual struggle, Marie-Therese entered the Visitation monastery at Fribourg and received her religious habit on June 4, 1815. She was given the name of Marie Françoise de Sales: names which indicated at the same time her devotion to the Blessed Virgin and her filial love for St Francis de Sales.

From the age of twenty-four, Sr. Mary de Sales was named Mistress of Novices. Soon after she was elected by the monastery of Troyes to be their superior. For the rest of her life, she was superior of various communities, including Troyes and Paris, becoming known as the Good Mother.

She was inspired to reveal to Father Louis Brisson that the foundation of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales was God’s will. The congregation was established only five years before the death of the Venerable Mother. “I can die now that they are founded,” she said.

As early as 1858, in the depth of the cloister, she also inspired and helped the foundation of a center for of young working girls. Five hundred girls grouped around a few dedicated directresses. The girls who were residents, received food, shelter and work in a workroom arranged for them, others were sponsored, counseled, protected and found a good place in a Christian home.

Mother Mary de Sales encouraged Father Louis Brisson to create a new institute, different to the Visitation by the external rule, but animated by the same spirit and inspired by the same Spiritual Directory. Thus the Oblate Sisters of St. Francis de Sales were established. Their objective is evangelization, and the human and Christian education of young people. Mother Mary de Sales herself prepared the first two Oblates Sisters. Mother Mary de Sales died in Troyes, on 7th October 1875, at the age of eighty-two. She was then and is now regarded as one of the founders and a great spiritual mentor for all the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales

Mother Mary Desales
Saint Léonie Aviat

Saint Léonie Aviat

Léonie Aviat attended the Visitation School in Troyes, where Mother Marie de Sales Chappuis and Father Louis Brisson exerted a profound influence on her. This helped to prepare her for the mission with which she was to be entrusted: the foundation of a congregation committed to Salesian spirituality and to the evangelization of young factory workers.

Léonie, who had earlier felt an attraction toward the contemplative life, was affected by the plight of young factory workers and felt herself called to the active apostolate. The new congregation of the Oblate Sisters of St. Francis de Sales identified completely with the spirituality and the educational principles of the holy Bishop of Geneva. Under Léonie’s guidance, the community grew in number, the social apostolate unfolded and girls’ schools were opened. The apostolate of the Oblate Sisters extended to the different classes of society and to diverse forms of education, as well as to the Missions.  Today Saint Léonie shows each of us how to give ourselves wholehearted to others so that they can come to know and love Jesus and all those around them.

Henri Chaumont

Born in Paris in 1838, was a Diocesan priest influenced by the writings of St. Francis de Sales.  He was convinced that the laity were also called to holiness, no matter what their state of life. In 1869, he met Caroline Carré de Malberg, a married woman and mother, with whom he founded the Society of the Daughters of St Francis de Sales. A few years later he founded the Society of the Priests and then that of the Sons.

Henri Chaumont
Mary Mazzarello

Saint Mary Mazzarello

St. Mary Mazzarello, co-foundress of the Daughters of Mary Help of Chrisans ( Salesian Sisters) grew up
in Mornese – a small farming village in Piedmont. It was within her family that she learned to love Jesus
to the point of giving herself enrely to Him.
Seven siblings and hard work, challenged her to balance the joys and stresses of family life. She focused
on developing her love for Jesus and remaining united to Him throughout the day. During an outbreak of
typhoid and caring for her relaves she contracted the disease and struggled to determine God’s will for
her. A+er much discernment she and a friend of hers, Petronilla, went to the town tailor to learn sewing,
and together they began a school which quickly developed into an oratory with many acvies aimed at
bringing the young girls and women of Mornese to Jesus.
Mary had the opportunity to encounter John Bosco when he came to Mornese. Immediately she
understood that she was called to love and service as John Bosco was doing. Mary was struck by the
simplicity of John Bosco It. It was so much like her way with the girls. Eventually Don Bosco chose to
found a congregaon of women to work with girls. He looked to the young women in Mornese and
proposed the idea. Mary Mazzarellos was enthusiasc! In 1872 she professed her vows. Mary was
humble, 4lled with joy, and deeply rooted in Jesus. She was a woman of faith and very encouraging. She
was made the Superior of the community and only a+er nine years of religious life she died in 1881 and
was canonized in 1951.


Caroline Carré de Malberg

married woman and mother, founded with Father Henri Chaumont in 1872 the Society of St. Francis de Sales for Women. Her beatification is underway.

Caroline Carré de Malberg

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

Margaret Alacoque., the fifth child of Claude Alacoque, notary, and his wife, Philiberte, was born July 22, 1647 in the village of Verosvres in France. She was not born a saint; she became one slowly and only with effort and struggles. The Holy Spirit, author of all holiness, inspired her to dedicate herself to God at an early age. She endured much suffering as a child but this taught her to conform her life to that of Jesus in His paschal mystery.
Her gift of mystical prayer enabled her to experience union with God and to make this union the focus of her life. This call to total dedication finally led her to enter the Visitation Monastery in Paray-le-Monial, France, on June 20, 1671 shortly before her 24th birthday.
From 1673 to 1675 Christ appeared to her showing her His Heart. “My divine Heart”, He said during the first revelation, “is so passionately fond of the human race, and of you in particular, that it cannot keep back the pent-up flames of its burning charity any longer. They must burst out through you.” He mourned the world’s indifference, coldness and thanklessness and asked Margaret Mary for a communion of reparation on the First Friday of each month. These apparitions became known when Saint la Colombiere died; his notes revealed the details of her revelations which she had written down at his request.
During her second term as assistant Superior, her health broke down, “Nothing serious: said her doctor but Margaret disagreed: “I shall not live for I have nothing left to suffer. I need nothing but God and to lose myself in the Heart of Jesus.” Seconds later, this confidante of the Sacred Heart and “heiress of all its treasures” (Jesus’ words) died October 17, 1690 at age 41. She was canonized in 192
Margaret Mary

Let Some Words from Our Salesian Saints Guide Your Way

“To the young: I love you with all my heart, and it is sufficient for me that you are young to love you deeply… You will hardly find anyone who will love you more in Jesus Christ and who will have greater concern for your happiness.”
St. John Bosco
“Courage my good Sisters; let us do good as long as we have time. Never get discouraged, no matter what difficulties you may have to encounter.”
St. Mary Mazzarello
“Courage my good Sisters; let us do good as long as we have time. Never get discouraged, no matter what difficulties you may have to encounter.”
Blessed Laura Vicuna
“I feel a great yearning, a strong need of becoming a saint. I never knew it could be so easy, but now I see one can be happy and holy, too. I absolutely want to become asaint! I must!”
St. Dominic Savio
“When I return home, I will teach my people the ways of God. I will start a school for the children and teach them peace. I am going to be a Salesian priest and will be their spiritual chief.”
Zepherin Namucura