In this occasional series of posts, I recommend resources for you and your family in 100 words or less. More detailed reviews may come later.

Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales

By St. Francis de Sales. The classic spiritual guide for lay people. Practical and specific advice. 20 pages of guided meditations, plus further chapters on how to pray well. Does not mince words, yet remains realistic and compassionate. Discusses humility, chastity, friendship, courage, and other virtues. How to attend Mass and make a good confession. How to make a yearly examination of your progress. You will want to read it again and again.

One criticism: Written for a 17th-Century audience, so some of the advice, analogies, and anecdotes might seem quaint to 21st-Century readers.

Connie Rossini

Share with us: What is your favorite quote from this book? How has it affected your life? What books in a similar vein would you recommend?

See other posts in this series: The Golden Children’s Bible, Time for Prayer


Written by crossini4774


  1. Nancy December 21, 2012 at 10:04 am Reply

    If I have a favorite saint (okay … I do), it’s Francis de Sales. So your post is like an early Christmas gift to me! My favorite quote from this classic work is this: “Always remember, then, Philothea, to retire at various times into the solitude of your own heart even while outwardly engaged in discussions or transactions with others This mental solitude cannot be violated by the many people who surround you since they are not standing around your heart but only around your body. Your heart remains alone in the presence of God.” (Intro. part II, Spiritual Retreat). St. Francis de Sales taught so wonderfully that the devout life is for those in the world as well as for those in monasteries!

  2. Connie Rossini December 21, 2012 at 10:25 am Reply

    I can see why you like that quote. It’s so similar to what a Carmelite might have said. We read this in my postulant class in OCDS. St. Francis de Sales is my favorite too. I love practical guides. Plus, he’s the patron saint of writers. One of my sons has Francesco for his middle name.

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