The Chancel Windows

St. Francis de Sales & St. Vincent de Paul

Photograph by Bill Blanchard

Francis de Sales is dressed in the choir robes of a bishop. Although today a bishop's robes are magenta, before 1870 they were dark blue.


Vincent de Paul is in the cassock of a priest, and holding the child Jesus.


Francis de Sales was born in the Duchy of Savoy in 1567. He received an excellent education as a young man, becoming a Doctor of Law at the University of Padua. He eschewed a civil career, and was ordained in 1593, soon distinguishing himself as a preacher and as a minister to the poor and the sick. After several years of very difficult efforts to convert the Calvinists of Geneva to Catholicism, he became bishop of Geneva in 1602. He excelled in administration, catechesis, clergy education, and spiritual direction. He became a close friend of Jane Frances de Chantal, who founded the Order of the Visitation under Francis' guidance in 1619. In 1622, Francis died at the Visitation convent in Lyons. He was canonized in 1665; and declared a Doctor of the Church in 1877 by Pope Pius IX.


The feast day of Francis de Sales is January 24. He is the patron of writers, journalists, and the hearing impaired.


Vincent de Paul was born of poor parents in the village of Pouy in Gascony, France, about 1580. His first schooling was at a local school conducted by the Franciscans. In 1596, he went to the University of Toulouse for theological studies. There he was ordained priest in 1600.


In 1605, on a voyage by sea from Marseilles to Narbonne, he fell into the hands of African pirates and was carried as a slave to Tunisia. His captivity lasted about two years, until his escape in 1607. After a brief visit to Rome, he returned to France. There he became tutor in the family of Emmanuel de Gondy, Count of Goigny, and General of the galleys of France. In 1617, he began to preach missions; and in 1625, he founded the Congregation of the Mission, or Lazarists, so named on account of the Priory of St. Lazarus, which the Fathers began to occupy in 1633. The Sisters of Charity also owe the foundation of their congregation to Vincent de Paul. Vincent was influenced by the writings of Francis de Sales, his "neighbor" in our windows.


Charity was Vincent's predominant virtue. It extended to all persons, from abandoned children to the aged. His devotion to orphans led artists to portray him, as in our window, with a foundling in his arms. The parish Societies of St. Vincent de Paul pioneered social service and charitable work in thousands of American parishes. The last four years of Vincent's life were marked by serious illness and incapacity. He died in 1660 and was canonized in 1737.


His feast is observed on September 27. He is the patron saint of all works of charity.