A leader of the Catholic Reformation, Francis was born in France in 1567. His family insisted he study law rather than enter the seminary. After obtaining doctorates in both canon and civil law by the age of 24, Francis chose religious life instead. His family eventually became reconciled to his choice and he was ordained in 1593.

Appointed bishop of Geneva in 1602, Francis reorganized the diocese, reformed religious education, established a seminary and founded schools. He lived a life of austerity and simplicity, sharing with the poor. Wise and intelligent, he emphasized both the loving kindness of God and the human capacity for love.

Francis was beatified the year he died, 1622 – the first formal beatification to take place in St. Peter’s – and canonized in 1665. He is the patron saint of writers and journalists, and of the deaf.

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