The Devout Life .... St. Francis De Sales


Has anyone delved into this book by St. Francis De Sales? I happened upon a thread where someone referred to it. I searched on line, and found the writings on a PDF file, and read some of it. It seems very good, but challenging. Anyone read this? What did you think?


It may have been one of my posts you read on the Devout Life.
It’s a masterpeice, a must have for anyone who is serious about becomming holy. The advice is so simple yet so practicle. At the time it was written all the books on Holiness were written for religious, this book is written for people in the world.

I cannot reccomend it enough. The chapters are short and easy to read.


I haven’t read the book, but St. Francis De Sales is wonderful! He is the Patron of the Deaf and Hearing Impaired… and he interceded for me, just this week… during a crisis with my hearing. I have regained my hearing, and I think he is just awesome.

I’m inclined… by all means… to read anything on the life (or writings) of St. Francis De Sales.

God bless!


Yes, I have read it. It is extremely helpful. He wrote it for a lay person, so it reflects accurately how to be holy in the world. Many books about holiness, prayer, and devotions were written for people in religious life (think Imitation of Christ) and so call for some practices that are very difficult for a person living in the world.

The first 1/2 of the book is almost like a guided retreat where you focus on certain bad habits and overcome them with increased devotion. The second 1/2 of the book is broken up into guidelines on how to act, behave, react in many real world situations. It even had advice on how to behave at parties and how to dress! :stuck_out_tongue:

I highly reccomend this book to all my friends–even those who are not Catholic!


Like others said, it is a must.

Here is a good online version:


I’m reading it, and I’ve found it highly insightful, full of wisdom, as far as I’ve gotten. He’s made me think, meditate and act on things I never before imagined. Also there are things I’d heard about in the past and which are plainly good, but which I never acted on. He speaks on and recommends them with great power, so I’m starting some of these acts. His book is quite inspiring and broadens my ability to see how much God has done for me.


Thanks, it likely was you.
Did you find it encouraging? The little bit I read gave me an uneasy feeling, that I may not be capable of achieving that holiness, and then I get worried of the consequence. If I don’t achieve that level, am I doomed?

I do plan to


There are certian passages that can be daunting. I remember reading similar books and thinking I’m never going to be able to do this it’s just to hard. One book I even had to put down it was so tough. A year later I realsied I had made great progress on the road to holiness. (this was not my doing it was entirely the grace of God.)

If we look at the saints they were ordinary people who did extraordinary things for God. We are no different than the saints, if we fall down we should just ask God for forgivness and move on. I think the difference between the saints and others is not that they didn’t fall down but it was the fact they kept getting up.
Each time we get up we do a little better.

As for being damned. We are only damned if we die in a state of mortal sin, which is why St Francis says that we must strive never to commit it. If we fall down in the other areas like rash jugdements we may have to pass though purgatory.

I cannot see how you could read this book and not become a better Christian, it must have an effect on you.

One other point, some people panic about the passages about forbidding dancing. He was writing at a time when dances caused no end of sin. He saw so many women being abused and orpahned children being the result. It’s important to read it in the historical context.
Hope this helps
Don’t be afraid to try.


Thanks for the reply. As for your thoughts about getting back up after falling, I agree. However St. Francis seems to frown on those who go to confession without truly detesting the sins, and avoiding them at all costs in the future. (Certainly I agree with that, however, I know that I seem to always be confessing the same sins over and over). Are those confessions valid, even though I fall so often? Did I detest them enough? Those are the questions that get me down.
Here is one of the quotes from the book:
unfrequently the ordinary confessions of persons leading an everyday life are full of great faults,
and that because they make little or no preparation, and have not the needful contrition. Owing to
this deficiency such people go to confession with a tacit intention of returning to their old sins,
inasmuch as they will not avoid the occasions of sin, or take the necessary measures for amendment[/LEFT]
of life, and in all such cases a general confession is required to steady and fix the soul.”

[FONT=Arial]Thanks for the conversation. I really like it, and I appreciate your input as I journey.:thumbsup:


First of all the absolution given in confession is valid if at the time there is some sorrow for our sins. It cannot be taken back even if we fall again in the future.

In order for the Sacrament to be valid we must be in some way sorry for what we have done. Even if it is just a fear of going to hell it is enough. A tiny bit of sorrow is enough for the Sacrament to be valid.

St Francis knows that the person who is very sorry for their sins will not commit it again. All sin has some kind of consequence. Perhaps if we consider how much we have hurt God, and his children by our sins we will show more sorrow for what we have done. Ultimately we will not do it again. We may not be aware of the full consequences of our sins but they hurt people nonetheless.

With committing the same sins over and over, do you try and come up with practical ways to avoid it? I’m happy for you to send me a private message about this if you don’t want to post it on the boards. We cannot just hope that sins will go away we have to plan how to avoid them.
For example, anger doesn’t just happen, it starts when we get frustrated by something this builds and builds until we get angry. If someone can notice the first warning signs of frustration then they can do something to stop it going further.
God bless


One other point
Every time we go to Confession we receive Sacramental grace to over come the sins in future, without this we cannot hope to stop sinning.


It is an excellent book. I’ve read it twice in the past, and need to pull it out again in the future. The comments about dancing can be equally valid today if we update it a little. How many of us (and I include myself) waste our time watching the garbage on TV or movies, or listening to the latest pop music (most of which rots our souls) instead of spending the time praying or reading Scripture and other spiritual writings?


I am reading a book by Ralph Martin called “The Fulfillment of All Desire.” It’s a book about growing in the spiritual life, using the writings of several mystics as guides. He quotes Teresa of Avila, the Little Flower, Bernard of Clairvaux, John of the Cross, Catherine of Siena and Francis de Sales, among others. It’s a well- written book – at least so far – and I intend to read “The Devout Life” and “Diary of a Soul” after I complete this book.

Thank you for the information, including the link to the online version.

God bless,

P.S.: I’m just digging into these writers, but it occured to me that many ex-Catholics leave the church for Protestantism because they feel “they have not been fed.” With all these writings – not to mention the catechism, etc. – how can one not be fed, if one only tries? Again, thank you for your feedback on “The Devout Life.”


Tremendously good book, and good for rebellious people who are just beginning their spiritual journey and need a saint who is a bit of a softy with a light and gentle touch.

Other saints will deliver more knock out punches for those who need them too rather than leading down the garden path.

I once attended a group that met at the local parish to read passages of it out loud and prayerfully comment on them. Very good way to get together and deepen the faith.

‘Consider beforehand what occupations, duties and occasions are likely this day to enable you to serve God; what temptations to offend Him, either by vanity, anger, etc., may arise; and make a fervent resolution to use all means of serving Him and confirming your own piety; as also to avoid and resist whatever might hinder your salvation and God’s Glory. Nor is it enough to make such a resolution, – you must also prepare to carry it into effect. Thus, if you foresee having to meet someone who is hot-tempered and irritable, you must not merely resolve to guard your own temper, but you must consider by what gentle words to conciliate him. If you know you will see some sick person, consider how best to minister comfort to him, and so. . .’

St. Francis de Sales


I’m planning to read this book :slight_smile:


AMAZING BOOK!!! With practical resolutions to real situtations of a lay person. I have not finished it, but I am enjoying reading it and have used a number of his suggestions with true results.

:grouphug: Thanks everyone for such a great thread. I will have to keep an eye out on this one.


I’m trying to read it now… it is really good. Really makes you think. :ehh:


It’s a wonderful book. I don’t know why I’m having trouble reading it. Maybe because it’s an assignment!

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