A Man of Good Zeal
A Novel Based on the Life of St. Francis de Sales
By John E. Beahn
This imaginative re-telling of the saint’s story, based on the historical records of his life and times, now comes to life again in the reprint of this series of biographical fiction by Beahn.
St. Francis was born in 1567 in Savoy, a duchy of the western Alps whose fortunes were largely shaped by developments in neighbouring France, Switzerland, and Italy. Military and political conflicts there were heightened and complicated by religious tensions between Catholics and Protestants, whose leader John Calvin had settled in nearby Geneva and won a following in some districts of Savoy as well. Francis’ aristocratic father had great plans to position him for rapid advancement in this turbulent setting: he sent the young man to law school, manoeuvred for his appointment as a senator, and chose a noble heiress as his future wife—but God had other plans.
Beahn tells the inspiring story of how St. Francis risked his life to win thousands back to the Catholic faith, transformed the Diocese of Geneva as its bishop, and wrote the spiritual classics that eventually led Rome to name him a Doctor of the Church.