St. Francis de Sales was born in 1567 to Francois and Francoise de Boisy in what is currently Haute-Savoie, France. His father sent him to a good school when he was young, and he received spiritual formation from the Jesuits. After a disturbing spiritual fear of being condemned, he eventually resolved his problem and decided to dedicate his life to God in 1587. He became a doctor of law at the age of 24 at the Jesuit College of Clermont, Paris, and was ordained a priest by Bishop Claude de Granier and stationed in Geneva in 1593. He became bishop of Geneva in 1602.
Francis de Sales is the author of various collections of sermons on Mary, Lent, prayer and Christmastide, as well as a work entitled Set Your Heart Free, edited by John Kirvan. He was known as a spiritually understanding man as well as a friend of the poor. Though known for his great intellect and theological wisdom, he spoke with simplicity and earnestness, so that all could understand. An Introduction to the Devout Life , his best-loved work, is based on notes he wrote for a cousin for marriage, stressing that sanctity is possible in everyday life. He died in 1622 on December 28, and was canonized by Pope Alexander VII in 1665. His feast is celebrated on January 24.