St. Frances Fremiot de Chantal, being a widow consecrated her time to works of piety and mercy, in all things seeking only the glory of God. When her spiritual director, St. Francis de Sales, told her that it was the will of God that, leaving the world, she should consecrate herself to Him, she received this command as coming from God Himself.
Retiring from the world with some of her companions, she placed herself under the direction of St. Francis de Sales and founded a new Congregation, to which that holy Bishop gave the name of the “Visitation.” The beginning of this new foundation was very difficult, because the Sisters were extremely poor and sometimes even in need of their daily bread.
Moreover, outward enemies continually threatened the existence of the convent. But, trusting in God and encouraged by the charity of St. Francis, the Sisters bore all this cheerfully, serving their heavenly Spouse with great devotion. To the cultivation of such beautiful Christian virtues as charity, humility, simplicity and patience, they united a tender devotion to Our Lady, in order to arrive at a more perfect union with God, who is the end of all things.
St. Frances herself reached such a stage of perfection, that she wished to make a vow of doing in everything that which was most perfect. So holy a life could not but draw down on the new Congregation the blessing of Heaven.
She died a holy death at Moulins on the thirteenth of December, 1641. Under the guidance of Mary, the Congregation of the Visitation soon flourished in the Church, and sent forth to heaven many holy souls, among whom must be mentioned St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, to whom Our Lord deigned to reveal how pleasing to Him is the devotion to His most Sacred Heart.
Illustration from Pictorial Lives of the Saints With Reflections for Every Day in the Year (New York: Benziger Bros., 1922). Text from Alexis M. Lepicier, The Fairest Flower of Paradise (London: Burns, Oates & Washbourne, Ltd., 1922).