(YAHOO'S ACHILLES' HEEL)
Francis de Sales, b. Aug. 21, 1567, d. Dec. 28, 1622, was a French Roman Catholic bishop and one of the Doctors of the Church. After studying law in Paris and Lyon, Francis decided to enter the priesthood, despite his father's opposition.
His early years as a priest were spent preaching in the countryside of the Chablais area of Savoy. In 1602 he was consecrated bishop of Geneva. As bishop he promoted the measures for reform that were part of the Counter-Reformation initiated by the Council of Trent (1545-63). He is remembered today for his writings, especially the religious classic Introduction to the Devout Life (1608), a spiritual guide for lay people.
With Saint Jane Frances de Chantal he founded (1610) the Visitation order for women; other religious orders, notably the Salesians, were founded in his name after his death.
Saint John Bosco, b. Turin, Italy, Aug. 16, 1815, d. Jan. 31, 1888, a pioneer in the field of vocational training in Italy, founded (1859) the Society of Saint Francis de Sales (Salesia), a community of Roman Catholic priests specializing in the education of boys. With Saint Maria Mazarello, he also founded the Salesian Sisters in 1872. Bosco was canonized in 1934. Feast day: Jan. 31.
In 1888 Salesian missions expanded worldwide. Salesians first arrived in the United States in 1897. Their educational facilities include academic schools at all grade levels, trade and agricultural institutes, and seminaries. They also maintain youth clubs and centers, athletic facilities, and camps for boys. In addition, they print and publish Catholic educational materials.
Also known as Salesians are members of the Salesian Sisters of Don Bosco, an order for women created as a counterpart of the original order to foster the education of impoverished girls. Founded at Mornese, Italy, in 1872 by Don Bosco and Saint Mary Mazzarello, it too maintains many schools, recreational facilities, and related institutions. Salesian sisters have worked in the order's missions since 1877. Together, the Salesian priests, brothers, and sisters constitute one of the church's largest orders, with some 40,000 members in 122 countries at the beginning of the 21st century. The Salesians, who have maintained active chapters of former pupils since 1870, also have a number of affiliated congregations and are aided by numerous lay volunteers.
During the Middle Ages, eight "great" Christian theologians were recognized as Doctors of the Church because of their orthodoxy of doctrine and holiness of life: saints Ambrose, Athanasius, Augustine, Basil the Great, (Pope) Gregory I, Gregory of Nazianzus, Jerome, and John Chrysostom. In later times, others were added to the list by the Roman Catholic church, creating a total of 33 by the end of the 20th century.
The additional Doctors of the Church are (in order of their nomination): saints Thomas Aquinas, Bonaventure, Anselm, Isidore of Seville, Peter Chrysologus, (Pope) Leo I, Peter Damian, Bernard of Clairvaux, Hilary of Poitiers, Alphonsus Liguori, Francis de Sales, Cyril of Alexandria, Cyril of Jerusalem, John Damascene, Bede, Ephraem the Syrian, Peter Canisius, John of the Cross, Robert Bellarmine, Albertus Magnus, Anthony of Padua, Lawrence of Brindisi, Teresa of Avila, Catherine of Siena, and Therese of Lisieux.
Francis de Sales was canonized in 1665 and was designated the patron saint of JOURNALISTS by Pius XI in 1923. Feast day: Jan. 24 (formerly Jan. 29).