St. Francis de Sales had an “Augustinian cast of mind”, it has been said.
Certainly he respected this great doctor of the Church and chose the Rule of St. Augustine for the Visitation Order that he founded with St Jane de Chantal.
That is why we call St Francis de Sales our “holy Father” and St Augustine our “grandfather”.
St. Augustine had a preponderant influence on Francis de Sales.
He cites him numerous times in the Treatise, especially from his Confessions and the City of God.
What struck St. Francis, among others things,in the teachings of Augustine was the prevalence and power of love, especially the
love of God. Augustine certainly understood the role and importance
of reason in the act of faith.
It is well known among Visitandines that St. Augustine, whose monastic rule for religious life we follow, is often called our”grandfather” as our Holy Father, St. Francis de Sales, chose St Augustine as a model for our community living.
So, therefore our relationship to St Augustine’s mother, St. Monica, makes us virtual “great-granddaughers”!
St. Francis de Sales reflected on St. Monica in some of his writings.
He says of her in the Introduction to the Devout Life, Part 3, Chapter 19, that “St. Augustine testifies that St. Ambrose loved St. Monica solely for the rare virtues he saw in her and that she in turn loved him as an angel of God.”
St Francis de Sales also wrote, 400 years ago, a very timely paragraph about St Monica’s motherhood:
“When St. Monica was about to give birth to the great St. Augustine, she dedicated him by repeated acts of oblation to the Christian religion and the service of God’s glory. He testifies to this and says that “he had already tasted God’s salt within his mother’s womb.”
“The story contains a great lesson, for it tells Christian women to offer up to God’s Majesty the fruit of their wombs even before it comes into the world. At such times, God, who accepts the offerings of a humble and willing heart, is wont to inspire a mother’s affections.”
Source: St. Francis de Sales :Introduction to the Devout Life, Part 3, Chapter 38, p224, Ryan’s edition
St. Monica, pray for us!