Whoever attentively reviews the life of St. Francis will discover that, from his earliest years, he was a model of sanctity. He was not a gloomy, austere saint but was most amiable and friendly with all, so much so that it can be said of him most truthfully, “her conversation (wisdom) hath no bitterness, nor her company any tediousness, but joy and gladness.”

(…)

No less well known are the ease and amiability with which he received everyone. Sinners and apostates especially flocked to his house in order, with his help, to become reconciled to God and to amend their lives. He was most partial to unfortunate prisoners whom he, by a hundred artifices of charity, sought to console during his frequent visits to the prisons. He likewise showed great kindness to his own servants, whose sloth and gaucheries he bore with heroic patience. His kindness of heart never varied, no matter who the persons were with whom he had to deal, the hour of the day, the trying circumstances he had to meet. Not even heretics, who often proved themselves very offensive, ever found him a bit less affable or less accessible. Indeed, his zeal was so great that during the first year of his priesthood, he attempted, despite the opposition of his own father, to reconcile the people of La Chablais to the Church. In this he was gladly seconded by Granier, the Bishop of Geneva. To accomplish this work, he refused no duty whatsoever, he fled no danger, not even that of possible death. His imperturbable kindness stood him in better stead in effecting the conversion of so many thousands of people than even the broad learning and wonderful eloquence which characterized his performance of the many duties of the sacred ministry.

 

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Pope Pius XI

Rerum Omnium Perturbationem, 6-7


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