Sign Up for our Free Daily Email Updates / Catholic Spiritual Direction

Introduction to the Devout Life: St Francis de Sales

October 29, 2013 by  
Filed under Book Club, Vicki Burbach

Book Club INTERNAL IMAGE (internal to post) 600x214
An Introduction to the Devout Life (Week 1 of 14)

The back of the book says it all:

As no sensible person would make a long road trip without first consulting a map, so the person intent upon gaining Heaven should first resort to a competent guide to reach that Goal of all goals. And no better guide to Heaven exists than “An Introduction to the Devout Live” by St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622), Doctor of the Church. It is at once easy to read, being laid out in short chapters, yet thorough, authoritative, reliable, kind and gentle – a mirror of its author. It is a book, moreover, for all, because all are called to the devout life. True devotion to God, the author points out, “adorns” every vocation. The devout life, moreover, is “a lovely, a pleasant, and a happy life.”

Addressed almost as a personal letter to Philothea, the “lover of God” – which genuinely represents the reader – the book covers: our first desire to lead a devout life to our full resolution to do so, how we should approach God in prayer and the Sacraments, the practice of 16 important virtues, remedies against ordinary temptations, and becoming confirmed in our practice of devotion. St. Francis says, “Devotion is spiritual agility and vivacity, by means of which charity works in us, or we in her, with love and readiness; and as charity leads us to obey and fulfill all God’s Commandments, so devotion leads us to obey them with promptitude and diligence.

An Introduction to the Devout Life is a book to be read with pencil in hand. It is a book to be read again and again. It is a book to make your guide for the rest of your life. It goes to the heart of becoming good. Its aim is to help you be rid of sin – and even the inclinations to sin. Alone, its 10 brief meditations in Part I will orient you toward God for the rest of your life. No one will come away from a serious reading of the entire Introduction to the Devout Life without being profoundly impressed and without being motivated to enter upon the devout life…which leads ultimately to God and to Heaven.


Due to the life-changing nature of An Introduction to the Devout Life, we plan to spend 14 weeks of learning and discussion, to provide ample time for contemplation and discernment. Following is a tentative reading schedule:


Week 1 Part 1: Chapter 1-11 – THIS WEEK!!!

Week 2 Part 1: Chapter 12-24

Week 3 Part 2: Chapter 1-12

Week 4 Part 2: Chapter 13-21




Week 5 Part 3: Chapter 1-5

Week 6 Part 3: Chapter 6-11

Week 7 Part 3: Chapter 12-18


CHRISTMAS BREAK – 12/23 & 12/31


Week 8 Part 3: Chapter 19-27

Week 9 Part 3: Chapter 28-35

Week 10 Part 3: Chapter 36-41

Week 11 Part 4: Chapter 1-11

Week 12 Part 4: Chapter 12-15

Week 13 Part 5: Chapter 1-18

Week 14 Conclusion


Reading Assignment:  Part 1: Chapters 1-11 for discussion next Tuesday

Discussion Questions:

1.  Have you read this book before?

2.  Any comments you'd like to make before we begin?


NOTE REGARDING TRANSLATIONS: I am reading the TAN version published in 1994. In case you have a difficult time finding that version, I'm also recommending TAN’s current version of the book. I believe they are the same translation. I do plan to note passages by chapter rather than page number, so you should be able to follow along regardless of your translation.

Happy Reading!

Read more: Previous Book Club Posts

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About Vicki Burbach

Vicki Burbach is a wife and homeschooling mother of six children ages four to sixteen years who relishes the calm inspiration of spiritual reading amidst the roller coaster of life. A passionate convert to the Faith, Vicki is an avid reader who started the book club so she could embark with like-minded bibliophiles on a spiritual journey through some of the greatest Catholic books ever written. She is author of the new book How to Read Your Way to Heaven - A Spiritual Reading Program for the Worst of Sinners, the Greatest of Saints, and Everyone in Between. You can also find her at

please consider supporting our mission with a donation!