January 29, St Francis de Sales

The city of Geneva in Switzerland is situated at the western end of the forty-five mile long lade of the same name, near the French boundary. In the sixteenth century the Dukedom of Savoy lost this city, as well as the province of Vaud on the north side of the lake and that of Chablais on the south side, to the Calvinists of Switzerland. By giving up his claim to Vaud, the duke of Savoy finally regained Chablais; but the people of the latter province had meanwhile become fanatical Calvinists. The bishop of Geneva resided at Annecy, some twenty miles south of Geneva.

A prominent noble family of Savoy at this time was that of De Sales; and Saint Francis de Sales, who was born in 1567 at the Chateau de Sales, near Annecy, became its most illustrious member. His father had the title to the Signory of Nouvelles by inheritance and that of Boisy by marriage. At baptism, St Francis de Sales received St Francis of Assisi together with St Bonaventure as his patron saints; and after he was appointed coadjutor bishop of Geneva, he had himself enrolled in the Archconfraternity of the Cord of St Francis.

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January 28, Blessed Benvenute of Recanati

At Recanati in the old province of Piceno, which has given so many saints to the Franciscan Order, Blessed Benvenute of Recanati was born of Christian parents, early in the thirteenth century. Reared in simplicity and piety, he did not care for the world and its pleasures. But the love of God waxed strong in him, and when he had grown to young manhood, he resolved to quit the world.

At the Franciscan convent in his native town Blessed Benvenute of Recanati asked for admission as a lay brother, and admission was readily granted to this pious young man. In the convent Benvenute was above all concerned about laying a solid foundation in humility, the foundation of all virtues.

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January 27, St Angela Merici

St Angela Merici was born in the year 1470 at Decenzano, northern Italy, on the banks of Lake Garda. Even as a child she served God very fervently. She so loved modesty and purity of heart that she was quite generally venerated as a little saint in her native town.

When she was in her 13th year she entered the Third Order of St. Francis, and soon afterward took the vow of perpetual chastity, renounced all her possessions, and wished to live only on alms.

Along with this St Angela Merici practiced great austerities, slept on the bare earth, and fasted continuously on bread and water. Sometimes Holy Communion was her only food over a period of several days.

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