“San Francisco de Sales,” by Spanish Neoclassic painter Francisco Bayeu y Subías (1734-1795), depicts St. Francis de Sales, who founded the Order of the Visitation of Mary. (Public Domain/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

Jan. 24

Born in the Duchy of Savoy (now France), Francis studied at Annecy, Paris and Padua, and was ordained in 1593. He spent four years reconverting Catholics who had become Calvinists, writing many tracts to explain basic tenets of the faith.

In 1602 he became bishop of Geneva, which he reorganized and reformed. He also famously preached in Paris and wrote two devotional books that are still widely read: “Introduction to a Devout Life,” and “Treatise on the Love of God.”

A 20-year friendship with St. Jane Frances de Chantal led to their founding the Order of the Visitation. Canonized in 1665 and declared a doctor of the Church in 1877, Francis is the patron saint of journalists, authors and the deaf.