I knew about the other St. Francis, of course. He’s loomed large in my spiritual development and formation as a Catholic. But I did not know about this St. Francis until 2008. This is all the more unbelievable because I’m a writer, and St. Francis de Sales is the patron saint of writers and journalists (among other things).
He was a writer, too, and what a writer! Many of the things we have from him today are letters between himself and a laywoman where he gives calm, succinct advice on how to live as a spiritual person in the world. St. Francis is a saint and writer whose time has truly come; perhaps never before has there been such as need and a desire for the regular, non-ordained faithful to take up the mantel of holiness in their daily lives.
Most people familiar with St. Francis know his “Introduction to the Devout Life”, a wonderful book and a enduring classic. But finding others of his books and writings can be hit and miss. I stumbled upon Sophia Press’ edition of “The Art of Loving God” in early 2010, and they were kind enough to send me a complimentary review copy. As with all St. Francis’s writings, it contains superb advice for living the Christian life, written in a clear and lucid style. I also especially like this edition, as it comes in a dignified faux-leather blue cover with stamped gold letters and is small enough to fit into my purse. Despite its compactness, the print is not so small that it causes eye strain and is refreshingly laid out, clean, well-organized and easy to read. I cannot recommend all of St. Francis de Sales’ work highly enough, and this Sophia press edition of “The Art of Loving God” is an affordable yet attractive volume.