Introduction to the Devout Life began as a series of letters to one of Francis’ spiritual daughters, who looked to him for direction.
Holiness for Everyone
St Francis de Sales’ Introduction to the Devout Life - Simplified and illustrated by Elizabeth Ruth Obbard.
This book presents Francis de Sales classic in which holiness is made attractive and possible to everyone no matter what their vocation. All are equally called to holy living, and Francis sets forth his arguments with warmth, charm and clarity. His great desire was to see Jesus live in all men and women who came to him for direction.
Francis de Sales (1567 -1622), while studying in Paris, underwent a spiritual crisis over the question of predestination. He became ill with despair, but was saved by a radical abandonment to the mercy of a God who could be loved in the present moment.
He became bishop of Geneva in 1602 and within a short time met Jane Frances, Baroness de Chantal, a young widow with four small children. The sudden death of her husband had left her grieving for many years. In her sorrow she discovered a deeper longing for God and felt that she would not marry again.
Francis and Jane formed a deep bond of love and support; she encouraging him, he facilitating her inner growth and vocation to begin a new religious community, the Visitation of Holy Mary.
They shared a vision of spirituality that was to endure. For example, John Bosco, who later founded his own Salesian Congregation, built his whole theory of education on the loving acceptance of the young (including troubled delinquents) and the nourishment of their humanity according to the precepts of Francis de Sales and Jane de Chantal.
Salesian spirituality is noted for its stress on simplicity, openness to God, and a desire to make holiness accessible to all, no matter what vocation a person follows.
Introduction to the Devout Life began as a series of letters to one of Francis’ spiritual daughters, who looked to him for direction. It was first printed in 1608, but was so much in demand that other editions quickly followed, and Francis made his final revision of the text in 1619.
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