Saint Jane Frances de Chantal, also known as Jeanne-Françoise Frémyot de Chantal, was a French Catholic nun who dedicated her life to serving God and others. She is revered as the patron saint of forgotten people, widows, and parents who have lost a child.
Jane Frances de Chantal was born in January of 1572, in Dijon, France, into a noble family. She was a devout Catholic from a young age and was well-educated, learning Latin, Italian, and Spanish. At the age of 20, she married Baron Christophe de Rabutin-Chantal and became a mother of six children. Tragically, her husband died in a hunting accident when she was just 28 years old. Despite her grief, Jane forged on and remained committed to her faith and raised her children with great love and care.
It was after her husband's death that Jane became involved with the Visitation Order of nuns founded by Saint Francis de Sales. She met Saint Francis de Sales in 1604 and was inspired by his teachings on humility and spiritual perfection. Jane founded the Visitation Order in Annecy, France, with Saint Francis de Sales' help in 1610. The order was unique because it welcomed women who were not physically or mentally able to join other religious orders, as well as older women and widows.
Jane Frances de Chantal's life was marked by great hardship, including the loss of her husband and two of her children, and challenges within her own community. However, she remained steadfast in her devotion to God and continued to serve others until her death on December 13th, 1641. She was canonized as a saint by Pope Clement XIII on July 16th, 1767, and her feast day is celebrated on August 12th.
One of the most interesting facts about Saint Jane Frances de Chantal is that she was a prolific writer. She wrote over 20,000 letters during her lifetime, many of which survive today and provide a glimpse into her spiritual life and devotion to God.
Saint Jane Frances de Chantal was known for her humility and simplicity. She wore a simple black and white habit, refused to wear any jewelry, and lived a life of poverty despite her noble birth. She was deeply committed to serving the poor and sick, and her compassion and kindness were renowned.
In summary, Saint Jane Frances de Chantal was a remarkable woman whose life was devoted to God, her Catholic faith, her family and service to others. Her courage, compassion, and humility continue to inspire people around the world today.
Her body is venerated with that of Saint Francis de Sales in the church of the Visitation at Annecy.