On this day we celebrate the feast of St. Jane Frances de Chantal, founder, with St. Francis de Sales, of the Visitation Order.
After her husband was killed in a hunting accident, Jane Frances devoted herself to caring for her children, her father-in-law, her servants and tenant farmers, and the poor of the vicinity.
After a dream of the spiritual director she had prayed to find, she attended a sermon at Sainte Chapelle in Dijon. There she recognized the preacher, Francis de Sales, the Bishop of Geneva, as the man in her dream. He, too, had dreamed of Jane Frances in advance of their meeting and of the religious order they would found.
The first encounter of the two saints is depicted in this stained glass window in the Basilica of the Visitation at Annecy. (Notice the stained glass window shown in the stained glass window.)
Click here for information about the Salesian Windows, which were conceived and designed by M. Charles Plessard and executed by M. Francis Chigot, and for details about the incidents in the lives of St. Jane Frances de Chantal and St. Francis de Sales which they portray.
To understand the historical context in which St. Jane Frances founded the Visitation Order, see:
Sisters in Arms: Catholic Nuns Through Two Millennia, by Jo Ann Kay McNamara, Harvard University Press, 1998. Search term: Chantal.
Women and the Religious Life in Premodern Europe, by Patricia Ranft, Palgrave Macmillan, 1997. Search terms: Chantal, dévotes.
A very happy feast day to all Visitandines, their friends and families, and their students and alumnae!