St. Francis de Sales

Biden vs. Bork, 1988: Democrats Smear a SCOTUS Nominee

Editor’s note: this article originally appeared in the May 1988 print edition of Crisis. It has been edited for brevity. Many people have asked me what it was like to live through the nomination and hearings of my husband, Robert Bork. I usually answer that it was like being besieged in a battle where the reinforcements [...]

Self-Doubt as a Spiritual Virtue

Two years ago I wrote a piece about St. Thomas entitled In Defense of Doubt. In it, I praised St. Thomas for facing his doubts and said that honest doubt can be a good thing. In light of current proposals to change the wording of the last clause of the “Our Father,” I should like [...]

Tale As Old As Time: The Transformative Power of Love

From the very beginning of his existence, man is orientated to love and desires love. In fact, St. John Paul II says in Redemptoris Hominis that “man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible in himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not [...]

The God of Sundays

In the year 1617, King James issued his famous Declaration of Sports, a document which would be controversial due to its encouragement of the English to participate in certain sports on Sundays and Holy Days. This document, also known as simply the Book of Sports, enumerated a number of licit sports, which were fair game, [...]

On Re-reading St. Francis de Sales

Recently I came across an article on the joys of re-reading. All the contributors waxed lyrical on its pleasures. It appeared to be of little relevance, feeling I had neither the inclination nor indeed the luxury of time to re-read. Once read, it was on to the next volume sat waiting for me, or, so [...]

De Sales vs. Luther on Freedom and Religious Devotion

One of the major tenets of the Wittenberg Reforms implemented by Martin Luther in the early 1520s was his insistence on the equality of all men before God. A recognition of the “priesthood of all believers” was essential, according to Luther, to ensure proper respect for the rights of each individual person in regards to [...]

Trusting in God with St. Francis de Sales

 In all your affairs, rely wholly on God’s providence, through which alone you must look for success. Nevertheless, strive quietly on your part to cooperate with its designs.... Imitate little children who with one hand hold fast to their father while with the other they gather strawberries or blackberries from the hedges.  — St. Francis [...]

Blessed Louis Brisson and the Nineteenth-century Salesian Pentecost

 “Why are so many people drawn to St. Francis de Sales after their first contact? It is because his spirit is a short, sure, and successful way to find the Lord. In his spirit, you find medicine for your worries and salve for you injuries: the peace that every heart seeks.” So wrote Bl. Louis [...]

The Hidden Holiness of Charles Gobinet

In October 1646, the French crown placed a failing University of Paris college, the Collège du Plessis, under the administration of the illustrious Collège de la Sorbonne, newly enriched by  Cardinal Richelieu. The old Plessis, facing financial difficulties and near total collapse, needed complete reorganization and new leadership if it were to survive. Appointed principal [...]

“Everything She Had: The Widow’s Mite of St. Jeanne de Chantal”

In October 1601, Christophe, Baron de Rabutin-Chantal, went out from his château near Dijon, France, for a short hunting trip. As he rode with his cousin, neighbor, and friend, Charles d’Anlezy, the latter’s shotgun fired accidentally, giving Christophe a mortal wound under which he suffered for nine days. Christophe’s wife—born Jeanne Françoise Frémyot in 1572 [...]

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