Saint Francis de Sales. Feast Day. January 24th. Francis was born in to a noble French family in the Chateau de Sales in Thorens in France in 1567.His Father sent him to Paris to study law in the hope he would become a magistrate .Later he was enrolled in the University of Padua where he obtained his doctorate in Law but he also secretly studied theology as his hearts desire was to enter the priesthood. He continued to live a life among affluent society until God´s will became clear to him ,while he was riding Francis fell from his horse 3 times, each time his sword fell out of his scabbard landing in the shape of a cross. Despite his family wishes he was ordained as a priest in 1593 and became provost of Geneva .In 1602 he was made Bishop of Geneva, as bishop he was a leading figure in the Counter-Reformation movement . Francis involved himself personally with the teaching of the Catechism founding many great schools. In 1604 he took one of his most important steps towards holiness greatly influenced through his new friendship with St Jane Frances de Chantel, together they formed the religious order of the Visitation of Holy Mary in 1610 known as the “Visitandines.” Francis wrote many great compositions including his famous work ” An Introduction to the devout life which encouraged the laity to embrace holiness and sanctity in their daily lives. He died in the Visitandine convent in Lyon in 1622,canonized in 1665 by pope Alexander VII, he was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1677 and is the Patron saint of writers and journalists.
The Conversion of St Paul. Feast Day 25th January. In the NT, the conversion of St Paul is discussed both in his Epistles and in the Acts of the Apostles.The most detailed description of what took place is recorded in the book of Acts in chapter 9. Pauls conversion occurred after the crucifixion of Christ some time between AD33 and 36 . The great apostle formerly known as Saul of Tarsus was a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin, a zealous Pharisee who persecuted the early Christian Church relentlessly. His main concern was for the strict application of Jewish law and he was a complicit spectator at the stoning of St Stephen. Pauls conversion took place as he travelled on the road from Damascus to Jerusalem intent on persecution of the nascent Church. He experienced a vision of the risen Christ speaking the famous words ,” Saul ,Saul why do you persecute me”. Paul fell to his knees blinded for 3 days until Ananias a disciple of Jesus layed his hands upon him . Immediately the scales fell from his eyes , now he could not only see the truth physically but spiritually, the vision had opened his eyes to Jesus Christ.Paul was a man who truly had experienced Divine Grace he describes himself as the greatest sinner among sinners and is a testiomony of Gods mercy and conversion through Christ.Filled with the gifts of the Holy Spirit he was endowed with an incredible Mission to spread the Good News of the Gospel. Jesus says of him , ” This is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their Kings and to the people of Israel”.
Saint Timothy. Feast day January 26th. Timothy was born around AD 17 in Lystra in Asia Minor to a Jewish mother and Greek Father.He was an erudite young man that had studied the Jewish scriptures from a young age.Timothy was converted to Christianity by St Paul who was his mentor and became one of his disciples. Timothy despite his young age served as Paul´s ambassador to many young Christian communities . He accompanied Paul on his second missionary journey and was then sent to Thessalonica as Pauls representative to encourage Christians undergoing persecution. Later in AD 58 he accompanied Paul on a preaching tour in Macedonia and Archaea. A strong legend by Eusebius claims that he became the first Bishop of Ephesus in which position he received 2 pastoral letters from Paul encouraging him to sound doctrine and to administer despite his youth, confidently to his church. He is addressed as the recipient of the First and Second Epistles to Saint Timothy. His martyrdom is recorded in AD 97 at the hands of a pagan revolt because he opposed a festival in honour of their goddess Diana. Most likely he was stoned or clubbed to death his remains buried in Ephesus were removed to Constantinople at a later date in 365 to a shrine where many miracles have been said to have taken place.Timothy is invoked against stomach complaints.