Sales, Francois de - Bells ringing on his death
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Nicolas de Haute-ville – Histoire de la tres ancienne et illustre maison de Francois de Sales – 1669 [translated by Camille Flammarion]
Francois de Sales, Bishop of Geneva and of Annecy died in Lyons at 8 o’clock in the evening. The two brothers Francois and Louis were very much attached to each other and had been called ‘the inseparables’.
On the 28th day of the month of December of the year 11622, Louis de Sales had met his wife and his whole family at the Chateau of Thuille. About 10 o’clock at night, the bell hanging in one of the windows of the chateau tower and attached to a cord which went to the bottom of the stairs, began, of itself, to ring loudly, several times.
They believed at first that someone had arrived in great haste; a retainer was ordered to go down with all speed and open the outside door; but he was surprised to find no living soul there.
After about seven minutes the bell began its noise, ringing still more loudly; the second time the valet ran down more quickly than the first, but nevertheless found no one.
When this had occurred several times in the same way, Louis understood perfectly that something altogether extraordinary was about to happen; he gave orders that the cord should be detached from the bell, but this was the marvel of it; the bell rang with no cord attached, and the sound lasted so long that the whole family in greta terror began to pray.
Louis shut himself up in his study and while in ardent prayer he learned through a faculty which may be called prophetic that his sainted brother, the Bishop of Geneva, had died that very night.