In a less ecumenical time
For example, a fellow by the name of Claude Granier was bishop of a region where Catholic-Protestant relations were very often violent. In parts of his diocese, Catholic worship had been actually outlawed and churches were destroyed or taken over.
When the laws were changed in one of those parts of his diocese, the bishop decided to send there a priest by the name of Father Francis who had been ordained only recently. Father Francis would be physically attacked a number of times and beaten, yet he would persevere with great gentleness, compassion, and success.
Before long, Bishop Granier wanted to make Father Francis his successor. It took a long time for the humble priest to agree, but when the bishop died, Father Francis became the new bishop at the age of 35.
His reputation spread widely and he was invited by religious and secular leaders to preach throughout the country. He was even invited by the Pope to mediate a tricky theological dispute.
His writings were also well regarded. He wrote a series of letters to a cousin of his, giving her pointers in cultivating a more spiritual life, and these letters were eventually compiled into a bestselling book.
He helped found a new order of nuns, the first of a number of orders that would take their inspiration from him.
St. Francis de Sales, Bishop of Geneva in Switzerland (where Calvin had made his base and had died but a few score of years before), died in his mid-fifties in 1622, was canonized in 1665, and his memory is celebrated on this day.
The orders that look to him as their spiritual father (e.g., the Sisters of the Visitation, the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales) continue to this day. His books are also widely read, especially the one derived from those letters to his cousin: Introduction to the Devout Life.
(from an earlier post)