St. John Francis Regis
St. John Francis Regis Confessor of the Society of Jesus June 16 True virtue, or Christian perfection, consists not in great or shining actions, but resides in the heart, and appears to great edification, though in the usual train of common and religious duties constantly performed fidelity and fervor. Such a life has its trials, and often a severer martyrdom than that which stands the test of the flames. This we find in the life of the holy servant of God, John Francis Regis. He was born on the 31st of January, in 1597, at Foncouverte, a village in the diocese of Narbonne in Languedoc. His parents, John Regis, who was descended from a younger branch of the noble house of Deplas, in Rovergue, and Magdalen Darcis, daughter to the lord of Segur, were distinguished amongst the nobility of Lower Languedoc by their virtue. Their eldest son was killed in the siege of Villemur, in a rally made by the Huguenot garrison. Francis was one of the youngest brothers. At five years of age he fainted away hearing his mother speak of the horrible misfortune of being eternally damned; which discourse made a lasting impression on his tender heart. In his childhood he never discovered any inclination to the amusements of that age. The same disposition made him refuse at his school to join his companions in the innocent diversions of an age generally too eager for play. His first master was one of a morose, hasty temper, under whom this modest and bashful child had much to suffer; all which he bore without the least complaint. The Jesuits having opened a public school at Beziers, he was one of the first whom the reputation of its professors drew to the new college. His gravity increased with his years, nor was he to be seen in the beautiful walks which were chiefly crowded by his school fellows. Avaricious of his time, he scarcely allowed himself any for necessary relaxation. Sundays and holidays were a most precious time to him, and he divided them entirely between pious reading and devotions at home and in the church. He was often seen on those days retired in a chapel and bathed in tears in the presence of Jesus Christ, the tender object of his affections. His conduct made him for some time the subject of his young companions' score and railleries; which his constancy changed at last into veneration. He performed many exercises in honor of the Blessed Virgin, with a particular confidence in her patronage, especially after he was enrolled in a confraternity under her name erected in the Jesuits college. He had a singular devotion to his good angel, and improved every escape from any danger into a motive of redoubling his fervor and gratitude towards God. By the influence of his holy example, and by his religious discourses, which were animated with a peculiar unction and divine fire, he inflamed many of his companions with the love of virtue, and reclaimed several from dangerous courses.