Patron Saint of Oblate sisters of Sant Francis de Sales – Saint Francisca Salesia

Saint.Francisca Salesia was born on September 16, 1844,  in France, She received her education from a convent school of the Visitation in Troyes from 1845 to 1860, where she was guided by Maria de Sales Chappuis and Chaplain Louis Brisson. She received her first communion and confirmation  July 2, 1856. Her parents planned for her to marry a wealthy man when she finished her education.  She wanted a religious life, and in 1866, she went on retreat 

She asked both Brisson and Chappuis who advised her to wait. This vocation solidified further when she visited one of the factories where glasses were made and repaired.  She advised the workman to do their jobs for God while telling them of the importance of their work.

Brisson was concerned for the men and women who had moved from the rural areas to the cities to find work in factories and textile mills. These people were often homeless.  He wanted to form a new religious congregation dedicated to helping them. He consulted with Francisca hoping she would help him. She began her path to religious life on 11 April 1866, together with her friend Lucie Caneut, a school companion. Francisca and Brisson together founded the Oblate Sisters of St. Francis de Sales on 30 October 1868 and to oversee the education of girls.

On October 30, 1868, with Caneut (who became Jeanne-Marie), she to received the habit of the new congregation from Bishop Gaspard Mermillod, along with the new religious name: “Françoise de Sales”. She went on to establish parish schools and a female boarding school in Paris.  Francisca received the sacrament of holy orders and made her profession of her vows on October 11, 1871. She became the first Superior General of this congregation and served two terms in office, the first being from 20 September 1872 until 8 October 1879, when she gladly stepped down. In 1873, she was credited with curing the abscessed heel bone of a postulant, using a relic of St. Francis de Sales.
But the new Superior General demonstrated a clear lack of respect and consideration for Francisca. She didn’t complain nor mention it and offered her suffering to God. In 1881, the Superior General resigned, and the new one sent Francisca to Paris to run a boarding school.

Francisca earned respect through a commitment to her work. On September 15, 1884, her old friend Jeanne-Marie was appointed a, s Superior General, but even she was not nice, to Francisca.  In 1889, she was replaced as the head of the Parisian boarding school, She returned to Troyes. One night in September 1893 she was in Paris for the order’s General Chapter and heard a clear voice saying she would be chosen as the next Superior General once again. Francisca found she was alone in her room.  The next morning she was re-elected as Superior General, She understood this as a sign that Jesus wanted to govern the order through her. There was an outburst of happiness at her election, as many loved and respected Aviat and her work.

The secularization of France in 1905 began with the secularization of the religious houses and the exiling of the occupants. On April 11, 1904, she and the other religious transferred to Italy to escape and remain active, despite not knowing Italian.
In 1908, she had a terrible feeling Brisson was nearing the end of her life, and she began to weep. Two religious sisters came to her room and tried to reassure her, but a short while later she received a telegram informing her of his condition. She rushed to his bedside, and the priest died shortly after.   She attended the funeral though not in her religious habit so as not to draw attention to herself.

The constitutions of the order received papal approval from Pope Pius X in April 1911. On December 26, 1913, she became bedridden with a high fever.  She worsened on January 9,
1914, so she received the last rites. She died of pneumonia on January 10, 1914.

In 1992, Pope John Paul II beatified Francisca.  Her canonization miracle was the cure of Bernadette McKenzie from Drexel Hill, PA in the United States of America from paralyzing spinal disease. John Paul II canonized Francisca in Saint Peter’s Square on November 25, 2001.