Jeanne de Chantal


Feast:
12 August

Born:
28 January 1572
Dijon, Burgundy, France

Died:
13 December 1641
Moulins, France

Beatified:
21 November 1751
by Pope Benedict XIV

Canonized:
16 July 1767
by Pope Clement XIII

Patronage:
forgotten people; in-law problems; loss of parents; parents separated from children; widows


About

Born to the nobility, the daughter of the president of the Parliament of Burgundy who raised her alone after the death of her mother when Jeanne was 18 months old. Married in 1592 at age twenty to Baron de Chantal. Mother of four. Widowed at 28 when the Baron was killed in a hunting accident and died in her arms. Taking a personal vow of chastity, she was forced to live with her father-in-law, which was a period of misery for her. She spent her free time in prayer, and received a vision of the man who would become her spiritual director. In Lent, 1604, she met Saint Francis de Sales, and recognized him as the man in her vision. She became a spiritual student and close friend of Saint Francis, and the two carried on a lengthy correspondence for years. On Trinity Sunday, 6 June 1610 she founded the Order of the Visitation of Our Lady at Annecy, France. The Order was designed for widows and lay women who did not wish the full life of the orders, and Jeanne oversaw the founding of 69 convents. Jeanne spent the rest of her days overseeing the Order, and acting as spiritual advisor to any who desired her wisdom. Visitationist nuns today live a contemplative life, work for women with poor health and widows, and sometimes run schools.