Today’s #WednesdayWisdom introduces us to St. Jane Frances de Chantal who was the foundress of the Order of the Visitation of Mary. St. Jane was a married woman and a mother of seven children from Dijon, France. Her husband was killed in a hunting accident. In 1604, upon being deeply moved by the preaching of Francis de Sales, Jane asked him to become her spiritual director. She founded the Visitation nuns in 1610. Jane worked tirelessly helping the sick, and she convinced local political rulers to make special provisions for the sick and the bereaved. During the last years of her life, she experienced periods of spiritual aridity. She established eighty-five monasteries before her death in 1641.
She was born in 1572 and came from a noble family, her father gave her in marriage to the Baron von Chantal in 1592. As mother she most zealously instructed the children in the ways of virtue and piety and in the observance of every divine precept. With great generosity she supported the poor and took special joy in seeing how divine Providence often blesses and increases the smallest larder. Therefore she made a vow never to refuse anyone who asked for alms in the Name of Christ.
The death of her husband, who was accidentally shot while on the chase (1601), she bore with Christ-like composure and with all her heart forgave the person who had killed him; then she acted as sponsor for one of his children in order to show her forgiveness openly. There was a holy friendship between her and her spiritual guide, Francis de Sales; with his approval she left her father and children and founded the Visitation nuns.
She is the patron for: Forgotten people; in-law problems; loss of parents; parents separated from children; widows.
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.