Do you have a Saint that is like a golden thread in your life? One that is beautifully woven in throughout the tapestry of your life? A Saint who shows up often in your life – whether through images, stories, or prayers? A Saint who you have a devotion to and that has become like a dear friend? A friend that comes to your aid often?
For me, that Saint is Saint Francis de Sales. For over a decade he has “shown up” throughout my life and has become a dear friend. I call upon his intercession often and he has guided me through the example of his life story, wisdom, and words.
He is the patron Saint of my blog (this blog!), Finding Philothea. Saint Francis’ way of teaching Catholic spirituality is known as the Way of Divine Love, or the Devout Life. This is reflected in the title of one of his most famous works, Introduction to the Devout Life. In this book, he addresses his instructions on how to live a life for Christ to the general public under the name Philothea that is, the one who loves God. Finding Philothea is all about “finding the one who loves God” – our true self – in ourselves and in one another.
Just recently Saint Francis de Sales surprised me again. Last year I fulfilled my lifelong dream of becoming an etiquette instructor – something I’ve desired to become since my first etiquette class at fifteen years old. Before I embark on anything new, I like to assign a patron to that task, new hobby, passion, or endeavor. Before my etiquette certification courses began, I did a quick Google search: “Who is the patron Saint of etiquette?” My joy overflowed when I read the answer: Saint Francis de Sales.
Even a brief look into his life shows us why Saint Francis de Sales is the patron Saint of etiquette, also known as “the Gentleman Saint.” He was filled with love and patience, and devoted his time to the spiritual direction of lay people (the common man), which was extremely unusual for his time period. He loved horseback riding, dancing, and fencing. His inner refinement shone through exteriorly, as many described him as a handsome man. He was an intelligent man, too, receiving his doctorate in law and theology. He led many souls to Christ through his advice written in letters to the faithful, and through his spiritual guidance and gentle presence.
After finishing Introduction to the Devout Life earlier this year, I wanted to read more of Saint de Sales’ writings. I was so excited to see that Tan Books offers the Saint Francis de Sales Signature Set. They sent me the set that includes four of Saint Francis de Sales’ books: Introduction to the Devout Life, Consoling Thoughts, Sermons, and The Catholic Controversy. I cannot wait to read these!
If you’d like to join me, you can find the beautiful Signature Set HERE and use code PHILOTHEA-15 for a discount! I’m about to start my 2024 booklist and these books will be at the top of it.
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Tune into the Finding Philothea Podcast where my husband, Mike, and I share the mercy, beauty, and joy of a life lived for Christ.