His father, on the other hand, wanting Francis to grow up well-disciplined, chose a priest named Father Deage, a demanding man, as his tutor. The priest gave Francis a hard time, but, as Francis himself later acknowledged, it helped him in his human and Christian formation.
Nevertheless, Francis’ bad temper would continue to play tricks on him. Sometimes his blunders or outbursts made him the object of ridicule and humiliation, and his soul had to bear the weight of resentment and a desire for revenge. As an educated man of manners, he would control himself to the point that many had no idea of his bad temper.
In spite of this, over time bad experiences accumulated in his heart and Francis suffered a lot. At one point he even thought he feared he would be condemned to hell forever. The mere possibility of such a thing happening tormented him for a long time, and he lost his appetite and began to have difficulty sleeping.
The path of charity
One day Francis said to God in prayer: “I don’t care if you send me all the tortures you want, as long as you allow me to continue loving you always.” Determined to find a way out of his predicament, he began to frequent churches and to pray. One day, in the Church of St. Stephen in Paris, kneeling before the image of the Virgin Mary, he pronounced the famous prayer of St. Bernard: “Remember, O most pious Virgin Mary...”
For the first time in a long time, Francis found some of the peace for which he longed.
This experience cured much of the pride that had tormented him for so long. Francis could better understand the people around him and he realized how imperative it was to treat them with kindness. He went to study law in Padua, as was his father’s wish, but he also enrolled to study theology. In his heart had sprung up the desire to know the things of God more deeply.
At the age of 24, already with a doctorate, he returned to his family to live the ordinary life of a young man of nobility. His father wanted him to marry and obtain an important position, but Francis possessed the desire to consecrate his life totally to the service of God. He confessed to his father his desire to become a priest. At first he was met with stiff resistance, but finally his father agreed. Francis renounced the lordship of Villaroger, which was his right, and was ordained a priest on May 10, 1593.
He first served as canon of Annecy, but upon the death of the dean of the Chapter of the Cathedral of Geneva, a group of influential people (including his cousin, Canon Louis de Sales), interceded and asked the pope to grant the vacant position to Francis.
Concern for those whose faith is weak