The mission of the Congregation is to grow as a religious community in loving union with God and with each other, to share our charism with the People of God, and affirm them in “living Jesus” as the needs of the Church dictate. Following the example of our founder, Father Louis Brisson, and in accordance with the spirit of St. Francis de Sales, we Oblates place ourselves under the guidance of the Holy See in the pursuit of this mission.
To the great disappointment of his father, Francis gave up a promising civil career to follow his calling to the priesthood. After his ordination, he was sent as a young missionary to the Chablais district of Savoy for four years. By the end of his missionary apostolate, 72,000 men and women had re-embraced the Catholic faith.
Francis was ordained Bishop of Geneva in 1602 but resided in Annecy (now part of modern-day France) because Geneva was under Calvinist control and therefore closed to him. His diocese became famous throughout Europe for its efficient organization, zealous clergy and well-instructed laity--monumental achievements in those days.
Francis’ fame as a spiritual director and writer grew. He was convinced by others to collect, organize and expand on his many letters addressing spiritual subjects. He published these letters in 1609 under the title Introduction to the Devout Life. This work would become his most famous, but Francis’ special project was the writing of A Treatise of the Love of God, published in 1616, over which he prayed and labored many years.
Centered in the call to live Jesus, the spirituality of Francis de Sales flowed out of his experiences as a missionary priest, bishop, spiritual director, author and Religious Founder.
Francis collaborated with Jane de Chantal in founding the Sisters of the Visitation of Holy Mary, a religious order known for the simplicity of its rule and traditions. After Francis’ death in 1622 (at the age of 55), Jane was determined to establish an order of men who, above all, would be formed by the teachings of Francis de Sales. Her dream finally was realized in the work of Father Louis Brisson and Mother Marie de Sales Chappuis some 250 years later.