Friday, October 22, 2021

Saint Jane Frances de Chantal – Feast Day – August 12

Saint Jane Frances de Chantal was the founder of the religious Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary. She was born on January 28 1572 in Dijon, France and died on December 13 1641 at the Visitation Convent in Moulins, France at the age of 69. This order she founded welcomed and accommodated women who had been rejected by other orders because of age or poor health. Her feast day is celebrated on August 12 every year in the Catholic Church.

Saint Jane Frances de Chantal Biography

Saint Jane Frances de Chantal: “Hold your eyes on God and leave the doing to Him. That is all the doing you have to worry about.” Saint Jane Frances de Chantal

Date of Birth January 28 1572
Place of Birth Dijon, Burgundy, France
Profession Founded the Visitation order for women who were rejected by other orders because of poor health or age. She was also an excellent manager of the estates of her late husband, as well as of her father-in-law
Place of Work France
Date of Death December 13 1641
Place of Death Visitation Convent in Moulins, France
Feast Day August 12
Beatification By Pope Benedict XIV on November 21 1751 in Rome Italy
Canonization Pope Clement XIII on July 16 1767 in Rome Italy
Patron Saint of
  • Widows
  • Parents separated from children
  • Loss of parents
  • In-law problems
  • Forgotten people

Saint Jane Frances de Chantal’s Life History

St Jane Frances de Chantal’s father was Bénigne Frémyot, the royalist president of the Parliament of Burgundy and her mother was Margaret de Berbisey. Her brother was called André and was the Archbishop of Bourges between 1602–1621.

Jane Frances de Chantal’s mother died when she was 18 months old and her father raised and educated her in a religious way to become a very pious, beautiful, and intelligent woman. When she was mature enough, at the age of 20, she married Baron de Chantal and settled at the feudal castle of Bourbilly.

Initially, her first two children died after birth and her sister Margaret died later. She adopted her sister’s three children and lived with them in their castle. Later on, the couple was blessed with three daughters and a son.

Most of the time Baron de Chantal was away from home due to the nature of his work and this gave St Jane Frances de Chantal the chance to manifest her managerial skills and philanthropic heart. She managed her husband’s estates very well and also gave alms to the poor and the needy.

St Jane Frances de Chantal’s husband, Baron de Chantal, was accidentally killed in 1601, during a hunting expedition and she became a widow at the age of 28. She found it very hard to forgive the man who had accidentally shot her husband. But after some time she was able to forgive him.

She was very dejected and went to Dijon with her children to stay with her father. After a while, her father-in-law threatened to disown and disinherit her children if she did not return to her matrimonial home. But later on, in 1602, she moved back to his father-in-law’s castle at Monthelon, Saône-et-Loire. Her father-in-law was old but very extravagant and fierce but Jane Frances persevered their mistreatment.

In 1604, she went to Dijon and heard St Francis de Sales, the bishop of Geneva, preach. She became very close to Francis de Sales and he became her spiritual director. She wanted to become a nun but St Francis de Sales persuaded her to defer that decision. One of the things he told her was that she avoids scruples, hurry, and anxiety of mind which would have hindered her from gaining spiritual perfection. Francis de Sales advised her to make time to tend to both her father in Dijon and her father-in-law in Monthelon.

Marie Aymée, Saint Jane Frances de Chantal’s daughter, married Bernard, De Sales youngest brother, in 1610. After a short while, Charlotte, Chantal’s youngest daughter and De Sales’ mother died. Jane Frances de Chantal and her daughter Françoise relocated to Annecy, near Geneva, Switzerland to live with Marie Aymée.

While Jane Frances was planning to depart to Annecy for her religious mission, Celse Bénigne, her fifteen-year-old son, was very disturbed by her decision to abandon him for God. He lay on the floor of the convent crying and blocked the door to prevent her mother from leaving. A priest, present in the room asked Jane Frances whether she would change her mind but she stood her ground and adamantly insisted on going to Annecy to fulfill her God-sent mission. The boy was left to live in Dijon with his grandfather. He died, later on in life, during the century’s religious wars while fighting Huguenots and English on the Île de Ré.

In Annecy, St Francis de Sales purchased a small house on Lake Annecy. Together with Saint Jane Frances de Chantal, Marie Favre and Charlotte de Bréchard they prepared for the establishment of the Congregation of the Visitation. The congregation was established on June 6 1610 at Annecy on Trinity Sunday and their office was called the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Since Saint Jane Frances de Chantal had already handed all her wealth over to her children, the congregation was founded on very austere and poor circumstances. They started accepting women who wished to become nuns or join orders but were rejected elsewhere because of age or poor health. When asked why she chose to accept them, Jane Frances used to say, “What do you want me to do? I love sick people and I am on their side.”

St Francis de Sales received a lot of criticism from people because of the order’s open public outreach as opposed to the rest of the female orders who were cloistered and observed strict ascetic practices. However, they changed and became a cloistered community according to the Rule of St. Augustine.

Because of her good management skills, Saint Jane Frances de Chantal’s order received donations and visits from people of goodwill, aristocrats, princes, and princesses. She had established 13 houses before she died. After St Francis de Sales died, St Vincent de Paul became her spiritual director. She was very devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. By the time of her canonization in 1767, the order had 164 houses.

Saint Jane Frances de Chantal Birth

She was born on January 28 1572 in Dijon, France. Her father was Bénigne Frémyot, the royalist president of the Parliament of Burgundy and her mother was Margaret de Berbisey

Saint Jane Frances de Chantal Death

She died at the Visitation Convent in Moulins at the age of 69 and was buried in the Annecy convent next to St Francis de Sales.

Beatification

Saint Jane Frances de Chantal was beatified by Pope Benedict XIV on November 21 1751 in Rome Italy.

Canonization

Saint Jane Frances de Chantal was canonized by Pope Clement XIII on July 16 1767 in Rome Italy.

Saint Jane Frances de Chantal Feast Day

Her feast day was initially set on August 21 in 1769, but in 1969 her feast day was moved to December 12. In 2001, Pope John Paul II moved the memorial of Saint Jane Frances to August 12.

Saint Jane Frances de Chantal is the Patron Saint of

  • Widows
  • Parents separated from children
  • Loss of parents
  • In-law problems
  • Forgotten people

Saint Jane Frances de Chantal Quote

Hold your eyes on God and leave the doing to Him. That is all the doing you have to worry about.

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