January 24 is an important feast for anyone who has ever put pen to paper (or at least fingers to keyboard). St. Francis de Sales is often described as the patron saint of the Catholic press, and he is that, but his patronage extends more broadly to all journalists and writers. As a full-time editor and writer for a monthly journal of opinion, I know firsthand that journalists and other members of the press can benefit from Saint Francis's intercession.
But from what does St. Francis de Sales' peculiar interest in journalists arise? The answer is simple: This bishop and doctor of the Church was always concerned in his own writing to speak the truth with charity. Both elements are important: A reckless disregard for the truth may help sell papers in the short run, but in the long run, it will ruin your reputation (not to mention your soul). But the truth also should not be used as a weapon, to tear down rather than to build up (the sin known as detraction). And that's why charity is essential.
You can learn more about this remarkable saint, including how the religious controversies of the 16th century led to his concern with speaking the truth in charity, in Saint Francis de Sales, Bishop and Doctor of the Church.
(A stained-glass window of St. Francis de Sales, Saint Mary Oratory, Rockford, IL. Photo © Scott P. Richert)