Jane Frances de Chantal, VHM(1572-1641)Religious Co-Foundress
St. Jane de Chantal was a woman of prayer and tremendous faith, a faith born in the crucible of great human suffering. She endured the painful reality of a childhood without a mother, experienced premature widowhood after the accidental death of her husband, and suffered the heart-rending loss of three of her children.
This holy woman is an encouraging model for young single women, married women, for those suffering the loss of a husband or a child, and for those in religious life. She grew in holiness in all paths of life, and allowed pain and suffering to mold her somewhat impetuous spirit into one of gentle strength. Her words to a friend might well be taken to heart by all those who have young people in their care.
“Lead those in your care with a kind and understanding heart, give them a holy liberty of spirit and remove from your mind and theirs any unhealthy spirit of constraint.”
Jane de Chantal was also a competent woman who supervised the foundation of some eighty monasteries of the Visitation before her death. She had a good mind for business, an ability she fostered while in charge of a large estate while her husband was fighting in the wars so prevalent at that time. Her sensitivity to those less fortunate led her to establish a “soup kitchen” at her castle. Long food lines were not uncommon as she ministered to the homeless and those without the necessities of life.
Courtesy of the Second Federation of the Vistiation:www.visitationsisters.org