Saint Jane Frances de Chantal
May 01, 2015 / Written by: America Needs Fatima
Feast August 12
Born at Dijon in France in 1572, Jane was very pious and religious from a very young age. In 1592 she married the Baron de Chantal, who inherited many debts along with his title. Despite the early financial worries, she and her husband were devoted to each other and to their four children.
She restored order in the household, which was on the brink of ruin, and was generous with the little she had by allowing the poor to visit her home for food.
Often people who had just received food from her would pretend to leave, go around the house and get back in line for more. When asked why she let them get away with this, she replied, "What if God turned me away when I came back to him again and again with the same request?"
In 1601, the Baron was accidentally killed while hunting. It was said he forgave the man who shot him before he died.
Left a widow with four young children at the age of twenty-eight, Jane took a vow of chastity and begged God to send her a spiritual guide.
In a vision, God showed her the one He had intended for this very purpose. During Lent in the year 1604, while visiting her father in Dijon, the young widow recognized the orator preaching the sermon as the mysterious director who had been shown to her, and placed herself under his guidance. Francis de Sales was the Bishop of Geneva and later co-founded the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary with her.
St. Francis de Sales’ method of attaining perfection consisted in always keeping one’s will united to the Divine will, in taking so to speak one’s soul, heart, and longings into one’s hands and giving them into God’s keeping, and in seeking always to do what is pleasing to Him.
The Order of the Visitation was founded in 1610 for those women desirous of seeking perfection but unable to subject themselves to the austere practices of penance and mortification in force in all the religious orders at the time.
Often sought after for spiritual counsel, Mother de Chantal would frequently advise:
"Should you fall even fifty times a day, never on any account should that surprise or worry you, instead, ever so gently set your heart back in the right direction and practice the opposite virtue, all the while speaking words of love and trust to Our Lord after you have committed a thousand faults, as much as if you had committed only one. Once we have humbled ourselves for the faults which God allows us to become aware of in ourselves; we must forget them and go forward."
Jane Frances de Chantal died in 1641 at sixty-nine years of age and was canonized in 1767.