Francis de Sales was born into a noble family at the castle of Sales and later attended a Jesuit school in Paris. The Jesuits taught him the classics, Hebrew, Greek, and the life of discipline. His training also included the study of law and the humanities. He was ordained a priest in 1591 despite opposition from his family. In 1602 he became bishop of Geneva.
Francis was a prolific writer whose works had a great influence on the church. He combined spiritual depth with ethical concern in a way the few writers, before or after him, have been able to do. He was a master of metaphor, describing the mysteries of the spiritual life through simple everyday images like bees and milk, birds and sugar. Because of his considerable influence, Francis is considered one of "the doctors of the Western Church."