Saint John Francis Regis

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Saint John Francis Regis

Jesuit missionary
(1597-1640)

Saint John Francis Regis was born at Fontcouverte in Languedoc, in January, 1597, of a noble Catholic family. From his tenderest years he showed evidence of uncommon sanctity by his innocence of life, modesty, and love of prayer; when he was five years old he fainted when he heard his mother speak of the terrible misfortune of being eternally damned. After being educated by the Jesuits, when he was nineteen years old he decided, with the approbation of his confessor, to enter the Society of Jesus at Toulouse. There he was viewed as a model of every virtue, and was called the Angel of the College. He was sent in 1628 to study theology in Toulouse, and ordained a priest in 1630. His first ministry in Toulouse was for the victims of the plague. His superiors feared to expose his youth to the contagion, but he pleaded successfully to be allowed to do so, and God spared His servant for future labors. He was sent to visit his family for a time, and began in Fontcouverte to occupy himself first of all with the poor. The numerous conversions effected there made his Superiors decide to assign their young Saint to the mission lands of France.
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