ST JANE FRANCES DE CHANTAL
Born: January 23rd 1572
Died: December 13th 1641
Jane Frances Fremyot came from nobility. Her father was president of parliament at Dijon in France. Her brother became an archbishop tutors instructed Jane, and she learned to play musical instruments. Because Jane’s mother died when the girl was young, Jane quickly had to take on lots of responsibilities in society. She was a mature, intelligent, beautiful and charming. Jane fell in love and married Christopher de Chantal, and went to live in a castle at age 21.
There she persuaded her husband to have daily mass for the household because she was a good house keeper, Jane had extra time for works of charity. Not only did she care for her four children, but she cared for the sick and the aged. Beggars were never turned away. Then after seven years of marriage and two weeks after the birth of her last child, jane’s life was shattered. Her husband was killed in a hunting accident. Jane became very depressed. She asked a priest for Advice, but he didn’t understand her. Then her father-in-law demanded that she come and run his house or she will lose her inheritance.
Jane tried to please the bossy old man without complaining. She taught the children to read, count and sew. She also taught them about God. After seven years, Jane’s father suggested that she spend lent with her own family. There she met Francis de sales, a well liked bishop. He became her spiritual director. He encouraged her to seek God in a way of love, gentleness, and humility. He helped her forgive the man who cause her husbands death. She even became godmother of this mans child. As time went on, Francis de sales shared with Jane his dream of a religious community of women who would give their lives to prayer and helping the poor. Jane agreed to found such a community, and in 1610 they opened the first convert. Jane and the twelve other women who joined her, they called themselves the sisters of the visitation of holy Mary.
When Francis and Jane tried to open a second convent a cardinal in France objected. The custom of the time required that sisters never leave their convents, although they prayed for the world. Francis and Jane had to change their plans and makes the visitation sisters like these other converts.
After St Francis died, Jane published his writings. Then after a long illness, Jane died. By then eighty convents were founded.
Lord, you chose Saint Jane Frances to serve you both in marriage and in religious life. By her prayers help us to be faithful in our vocation and always to be the light of the world. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.