French theologian, pastor, and reformer John Calvin was a major figure during the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. He was influential in the development of the system of Christian theology later called Calvinism. Originally trained as a humanist lawyer, he broke from the Roman Catholic Church to embrace Protestantism. As an apologetic writer, he generated much controversy.
Pope Urban II, also known as Otho de Lagery, began as an archdeacon in Reims. He gradually rose through the ranks to become the bishop of Ostia. Later, as the pope, he dealt with conflicts within Christianity and also had a major role in promoting the Crusades against Muslims.
Bernard of Clairvaux, or Saint Bernard, was a 12th-century Burgundian monk, who became the abbot of the abbey of Clairvaux, founded by him. He chose to live a life of physical austerities, which caused him ailments such as anemia. He is revered as the patron saint of beekeepers and candlemakers.
Martin of Tours, the patron saint of France, had initially fought for the Roman army. Born to Pagan parents, he converted to Christianity at age 10. Legend has it that a vision of Jesus in a dream, after he shared his cloak with a beggar, had pushed Martin into religion.
Mirra Alfassa was a French occultist and spiritual teacher. Alfassa, who worked closely with the Indian philosopher and yogi Sri Aurobindo, is credited with founding the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry, India. She is also credited with establishing Auroville, an experimental township in India. She serves as an inspiration to people seeking knowledge about Integral Yoga.
Salomon Isaacides, also popularly known as Rashi, was a medieval French rabbi. He is acclaimed as the author of a comprehensive commentary on the Talmud. He also authored a commentary on the Hebrew Bible (the Tanakh). His works, penned in a concise and lucid manner, form the foundation of contemporary Jewish studies and rabbinic scholarship and interpretation.
11 Jean Vianney
Jean Vianney was a French Catholic priest active in the first half of the 19th century. Venerated in the Catholic Church as a saint and as the patron saint of parish priests, he is also referred to as the "Curé d'Ars." He was devoted to St. Philomena, who he regarded as his guardian. His feast day is 4 August.
Louise Marie Therese was a French nun who lived in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. She has been mentioned in many different sources, some dubiously claiming that she was the daughter of the Queen of France, Maria Theresa of Spain. She was a black woman and a Benedictine nun in the abbey of Moret-sur-Loing.
John Baptist de La Salle, also known as La Salle, is remembered as the founder of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, or the de La Salle Brothers. Apart from setting up charitable boarding schools, he also trained teachers. He is revered as the patron saint of school teachers and educators.
Genevieve is the patron saint of Paris in the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic traditions. Not much is known about her life, but it is believed that she became a nun as a teenager after deciding to dedicate her life to Christianity. She had frequent visions of heavenly angels and saints and was particularly devoted to Saint Denis.
Vincent de Paul was a 17th-century Catholic saint who established the Congregation of the Mission, whose followers are also known as Lazarists, or Vincentians. Known for his charity toward the peasant community and the poor, he also formed associations of women who helped and nursed the sick.
Pope John XXII was the head of the Catholic Church from August 1316 to his death in 1334. Elected by the Conclave of Cardinals, he was the second and longest-reigning Avignon Pope. He centralized power and income in the Papacy and lived a lavish life. He was considered an excellent administrator who efficiently reorganized the church.
Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès, also known as the Abbé Sieyès, was a French Roman Catholic Abbé, clergyman, and political writer. He was a chief political theorist of the French Revolution and held offices in the French Consulate government. He is credited to have coined the term sociologie in an unpublished manuscript. He led a rather uninvolved social life.
Peter the Hermit, also known as Little Peter, was a major figure of the First Crusade and a leader of the People’s Crusade, which entered the East before the Crusaders. He preached on the Mount of Olives just before Jerusalem was stormed. He also established an Augustinian monastery in Neufmoustier.
19 Pope Leo IX
Pope Leo IX went down in history as one of the most significant popes, due to his role in the Great East-West Schism of 1054, which separated the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. His idea of reforming the church including the removal of evils such as clerical marriage.
A Frankish noble, Arnulf of Metz served at the court of Theudebert II and was also made the bishop of Metz. Along with Pippin, he led a campaign against Brunhild and caused its downfall, eventually leading to the reunification of Frankish territories under Chlotar II.
Gregory of Tours was a Gallo-Roman historian and Bishop of Tours. He is mainly known for being the primary contemporary source for Merovingian history. His accounts of the miracles of saints are also considered invaluable. A prolific writer, he spent most of his career in Tours and is considered an outstanding literary figure of the 6th-century Merovingian world.
Pierre Roger, who later became the fourth Avignon pope, as Pope Clement VI, had also served as the archbishop of Sens and Rouen. He was a significant figure of the Crusades against the Ottoman Turks and led a campaign in Smyrna. Highly nepotistic, he erected statues of his relatives.
Pope Clement V heralded the Avignon Papacy by choosing Avignon as the papal residence instead of Rome. He also crushed the order of the Knights Templar and was known to favor his relatives. Following his death, his body was completely destroyed in a church fire caused by a lightning strike.
Charles de Foucauld was a cavalry officer in the French Army in the late 19th century. He later became an explorer and geographer, eventually adopting the life of a hermit and a Catholic priest. He was assassinated in 1916 and is listed as a martyr in the liturgy of the Catholic Church.
Jean de Brébeuf was a French missionary who explored New France, now known as Canada. He later came to be known as the patron saint of Canada. Captured by the native Iroquois in Huronia, he and another missionary were tortured to their deaths. The Iroquois also ate up his heart.
Pierre-roger De Beaufort, better known as Pope Gregory XI, was the last French pope and also the last pope of the Avignon papacy. He had been made a cardinal deacon at the age of 18 by his uncle, Pope Clement VI. His act of returning the 70-year-old Avignon papacy to Rome was historic.
Saint Ansgar, or Oscar, was a medieval missionary and the first archbishop of Hamburg. He had been sent to evangelical missions in Denmark and Sweden. His frequent travels for work earned him the nickname the Apostle of the North. He was made a saint by Rembert, his successor.
40 Pope Urban V
Joseph Justus Scaliger was a French Calvinist scholar and religious leader. His works on chronology were regarded as one of the most important contributions of Renaissance scholars. Joseph Justus Scaliger is best remembered for inflating the idea of classical history from ancient Roman and Greek history to include Babylonian, Persian, ancient Egyptian, and Jewish history.