Francis was born on 21 August 1567 in the family castle of Sales, in Thorens in the duchy of upper Savoy. He was the firstborn child of Francis and Frances De Boisy. His father was forty-four, and his mother fifteen. There were twelve children born to the family, five of whom died soon after their birth. Francis was both intelligent and gentle. From a very early age, he desired to serve God. He knew for years he had a vocation to the priesthood, but kept it from his family. His father wanted him to enter a career in law and politics.
In 1580, Francis attended the University of Paris, and at 24-years-old, he received his doctorate in law at the University of Padua. He studied theology and practiced mental prayers, but kept quiet about his devotion. To please his father, he also studied fencing and riding. He was a gifted young man: of brilliant intellect, persevering, purposeful, serene, affable, irresistibly charming, and above all, consumed with the love of God.
God made his will clear to Francis one day while he was riding. Francis fell from his horse three times that day. Every time he fell, the sword came out of the scabbard, and every time it came out, the sword and scabbard came to rest on the ground in the shape of the Christian cross.
After much discussion and disagreement from his father, Francis was ordained to the priesthood and elected provost of the Diocese of Geneva, in 1593, by the Bishop of Geneva. During the time of the Protestant reformation, Francis lived close to Calvinist territory. He decided he should lead an expedition to bring the 60,000 Calvinists back to the Catholic Church.Read More »