St. Francis de Sales Defends Himself When Attacked

May 14, 2015

St. Francis de SalesSt. Francis of Sales, though one of the gentlest of the Saints of God, knew how to defend himself from the swords of his enemies in the day of danger.

During his residence in Padua, whither his father had sent him to pursue his studies, it happened that certain young men, who seemed to live for no other purpose but to gratify their evil passions, were offended at his humility and meekness, which were a condemnation of their own sinful ways, and which they chose to attribute to cowardice and effeminacy. In their wicked hearts they formed the design of waylaying him, and giving him a severe chastisement, more to inspire him with fear than to do him any bodily injury.

ambushTo accomplish their design, they one day, towards evening, took up their position in a thicket near which the saintly youth had to pass on his return to the house wherein he lodged. They, knowing his habitual gentleness, imagined that he would offer them no resistance, and that, after having beaten him severely, they would be able, by running speedily away, to make their escape without being recognized.

But in this they deceived themselves, for they had forgotten, or perhaps were not aware, that the virtue of religion which teaches meekness and humility of heart inspires also courage and intrepidity in the hour of need.

St. Francis de Sales

St. Francis de Sales

When St. Francis had reached the spot where his assailants were waiting, they rushed out to attack him unawares, and began by trying to raise a quarrel without any cause; then they heaped upon him untold injurious words, and finding all these of no avail to provoke him to anger, they prepared to inflict on him the bodily cruelties they had previously designed.

But the pious youth, seeing that this was an occasion when duty to himself required him to resist these attacks, instantly drew his sword, and brandishing it vigorously over his cowardly aggressors, instantly made them fly away in great haste, so unexpected was the resistance offered them. St. Francis pursued them for a time, but they, finding that they themselves were in danger, turned towards him trembling and full of confusion. They fell at his feet imploring his forgiveness, and promising him that for the time to come they would never be guilty of such unpardonable conduct.

The Catechism In Examples Vol. III By the Rev. D. Chisholm Pg. 273-275.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 474


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