Friday, August 21, 2015
St. Jane Frances de Chantal, Foundress of the Order of the Visitation

Double (1955 Calendar): August 21

August 21st is the Feast of St. Jane Frances de Chantal, the widow who founded the Order of the Visitation after the death of her husband.  Even when it seems that our lives are over in our old age and after disasters, God can use our situation to bring about a manifold of graces. Her charity was so great she even served as godmother of the son of the man who killed her own husband.
She was the second child of Benignus Fremiot, president of the French Parliament of Burgundy.  Her mother died while she was a child, but her father took the greatest care of her education.  At her confirmation the name of Frances was added to her baptismal name.  At the age of 20, she married the Baron de Chantal, of the family of Rabutin, an officer in the army of Henry IV.  Her wedded life was happy, but an unexpected blow put an end to it.  The baron was killed by accident while hunting, and he expired in the arms of his disconsolate wife, who he left a widow at the age of 28 with one little son and three daughters.  She now gave herself entirely to God and to the exercises of religion.

In 1604 she first met St. Frances de Sales and soon placed herself under his direction.  By the advice of this holy Bishop she determined to abandon the world, having made satisfactory provision for her children, and her son being then 15 years of age.  She laid the foundation of her new "Order of the Visitation" at Annecy on Trinity Sunday in 1610, and the number of postulants soon increased.  For many years she suffered great interior trials with great resignation, while she labored to extend her Order and promote the glory of God.

St. Francis preceded her to the tomb in 1622, but she survived him nearly 20 years.  During the remainder of her life she continued to direct her Religious in the spirit with which St. Francis de Sales had imbued her.  In 1638 she went to Turin to found a convent.  Soon after, the Queen of France invited her to Paris.  She died at her convent at Moulins on December 13, 1641, at the age of 62.

Source: Father Hugo Hoever's "Live of the Saints

O Almighty and merciful God, who willed to add glory to Your Church through the new congregation founded by blessed Jane Frances, You inflamed this saint with such a love of Yourself that her wondrous strength of soul led her in the way of perfection during her whole life. May her merits and prayers bring us grace from heaven to overcome everything that hinders us, for we are conscious of our own frailty and trust solely in Your strength. Through our Lord . . .

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal

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