At the age of sixteen, Jane Frances de Fremyot, already a motherless child, was placed under the care of a worldly minded governess. In this crisis, she offered herself to the Mother of God, and secured Mary’s protection for life.
As the loving and beloved wife of the Baron de Chantal, she made her house the pattern of a Christian home. But God had marked her for something higher than domestic sanctity. Two children and a dearly loved sister died, and, in the full tide of prosperity, her husband’s life was taken by the innocent hand of a friend. For seven years the sorrows of her widowhood were increased by ill-usage from servants and inferiors, and the cruel importunities of friends.
She was to found with St. Francis de Sales a great Order. Sickness, opposition, want, beset her, and the death of children, friends, and of St. Francis himself followed, while eighty-seven houses of the Visitation rose under her hand. Nine long years of interior desolation completed the work of God’s grace; and in her seventieth year, St. Vincent of Paul saw, at the moment of her death, her soul ascend, as a ball of fire, to heaven.
Reflection. — Profit by the successive trials of life to gain the strength and courage of St. Jane Frances, and they will become stepping-stones from earth to heaven.
Illustration and text from Pictorial Lives of the Saints With Reflections for Every Day in the Year (New York: Benziger Bros., 1922).