A middle child – the seventh of thirteen children, and raised as a pious child. Soldier at age 18, and fought in the war against the Huguenots. Joined the navy to fight in the siege of La Rochelle, but illness kept him from the fight. He lived for three years in Paris, France, devoted to poetry and painting and to wild and frivolous living. Back in his home town of Cavaillon, he took over the position of his late brother as canon of Salon, a position he wanted for its income and connections instead of its spiritual significance. One night while on his way to a masked ball, he passed a shrine where a small light was burning before an image of the Virgin Mary. He was suddenly overwhelmed by the memory that a friend, Antoinette Reveillade, had prayed fervently for his salvation. He realized that there was no way he could live a life offending God and then expect to be accepted in the end. There, on the road, he had a complete conversion.
Ordained in 1582. Canon in Avignon. He was profoundly affected reading a biography of Saint Charles Borromeo, and tried to take him as a model in all things, especially his devotion to catechesis. Worked as a catechist in Aix-in-Provence, France, an area in turmoil following the Religious Wars. Saint Francis de Sales called him “a star of the first magnitude in the firmament of Catechesis.” He founded the Ursulines of Province and the Fathers of Christian Doctrine (Doctrinarians). The Fathers were destroyed during the French Revolution, but an Italian branch, the Doctrinarian Fathers continues today with houses in Italy, France and Brazil.