Jane Frances de Chantal
|Jane Frances de Chantal|
28 January 1572|
Dijon, Burgundy, France
|Died||13 December 1641
|Honored in||Roman Catholic Church|
|Beatified||21 November 1751, Rome by Pope Benedict XIV|
|Canonized||16 July 1767, Rome by Pope Clement XIII|
|Major shrine||Annecy, Savoy|
21 August (General Roman Calendar 1769-1969)
12 December (General Roman Calendar 1970-2001)
|Patronage||forgotten people; in-law problems; loss of parents; parents separated from children; widows|
Saint Jane Frances de Chantal (Jeanne-Françoise Frémiot, Baronne de Chantal, 28 January 1572 – 13 December 1641) is a Roman Catholic Saint, who founded a religious order after the death of her husband.
Jeanne Frances Fremiot was born in Dijon, France on January 18th, 1572, the daughter of the royalist President of the Parliament of Burgundy. She married the Baron de Chantal when she was 20 and then lived in the feudal castle of Bourbilly. Baron de Chantal was accidentally killed by a harquebus while out shooting in 1601. Left a widow at twenty-eight, with four children, the broken-hearted baroness took a vow of chastity. Her Mother, Step Mother, Sister, first 2 children and now her husband had died.  Chantal gained a reputation as an excellent manager of the estates of her husband, as well as of her difficult father in law, while also providing alms and nursing care to needy neighbors.
During Lent in 1604, the pious baronness met Saint Francis de Sales, the bishop of Geneva who was preaching at the Sainte Chapelle in Dijon. They became close friends, and de Sales became her spiritual director. With his support, and that of her father and brother (the Archbishop of Bourges), and after providing for her children, Chantal left for Annecy, to start the Congregation of the Visitation. The Congregation of the Visitation was canonically established at Annecy on Trinity Sunday, 6 June, 1610. The order accepted women who were rejected by other orders because of poor health or age. During its first eight years, the new order also was unusual in its public outreach, in contrast to most female religious who remained cloistered and adopted strict ascetic practices. When people criticized her, Chantal famously said, "What do you want me to do? I like sick people myself; I'm on their side."
Her reputation for sanctity and sound management resulted in many visits by (and donations from) aristocratic women. The order had 13 houses by the time de Sales died, and 86 before Chantal herself died at the Visitation Convent in Moulins, aged 69. St. Vincent de Paul served as her spiritual director after de Sales' death. Her favorite devotions involved the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Heart of Mary. Chantal was buried in the Annecy convent next to de Sales. The order had 164 houses by 1767, when she was canonized. Chantal outlived her son (who died fighting Huguenots and English on the Île de Ré during the century's religious wars) and two of her three daughters, but left extensive correspondence. Her granddaughter also became a famous writer, Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, marquise de Sévigné.
Saint Jane Frances's feast day is now generally celebrated on August 12 in the Roman Catholic Calendar of saints, although since 1969 Europeans often remember her on December 12, which is closer to the anniversary of her death (the traditional feast of St. Lucy). The move resulted from Pope John Paul II's declaring December 12 the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas. North American Catholics had generally moved this foundress' commemoration to August 18, but in 2009 changed it to August 12. Traditionalist Catholics who continue to observe pre-1970 calendars celebrate Saint Jane Frances on the 1769-1969 date, August 21.
Writings of Saint Jane Frances
Saint Jane Frances de Chantal wrote some exemplary letters of spiritual direction.
- Pernin, Raphael. "St. Jane Frances de Chantal." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 8. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 2 Feb. 2013
- Calendarium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 1969), p. 110
- Decree 2492/01/L of 18 December 2001 of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
- Newsletter of the USCCB Committee on Divine Worship, May-June 2009, pg. 24
- Francis de Sales, Jane De Chantal, Letters of Spiritual Direction (Classics of Western Spirituality), translated by Péronne Marie Thibert, V.H.M. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1988.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jane Frances de Chantal.|
- St. Jane Frances de Chantal at Saint of the Day
- The Life of Saint Jane Frances de Chantal
- St. Jane Frances de Chantal at Catholic Online
- Saint Jeanne de Chantal at Patron Saints Index
- Saint Jane Frances De Chantal School in North Hollywood, California