St. Jane Frances De Chantal
Jane was born in Dijon, France, in 1572. Her father was a devout man. He brought up his children well after the death of his wife. Jane, whom he dearly loved, married Christopher, the baron de Chantal. Jane and Christopher loved each other very much. God blessed them with six children, four of whom lived. Jane showed her love for God by loving her husband and children with her whole heart. Then, suddenly, a great sorrow fell upon that happy home. Baron Christopher was accidentally shot by a friend who had gone hunting with him. When he died, Jane was heart-broken. She forgave the man who had caused his death and even became his child's godmother.
St. Jane began to ask the Lord to send a holy priest into her life for guidance. In the meantime, she prayed and brought up her children in the love of God. She visited the poor and the sick and comforted the dying. When she met St. Francis de Sales, she knew this was the holy man God had sent to guide her. We celebrate his feast on January 24. Following his plan, Jane and three other young women started the order of the Visitation. But first, she had to make sure that her children, although older, were settled. She had other responsibilities and challenges too. But Jane tried to follow God's plan as she saw it, no matter how difficult.
St. Jane was courageous in all the difficulties she faced. She opened up many convents and struggled as well with her own temptations. She seems to have struggled with doubts. "Despite all her suffering," wrote St. Vincent de Paul, "her face never lost its peaceful look. And she was always faithful to God. So I consider her one of the holiest souls I have ever met."
St. Jane died on December 13, 1641. She was proclaimed a saint by Pope Clement XIII in 1767.
St. Jane was open to the inspiration of the Spirit in her life. What doest it feel like to open myself more freely to the action of grace in my life?