Saint Jane Frances de Chantal, 1572–1641
Saint Jane Frances de Chantal is one of the few Saints who was a wife and mother. Jane was born in France. As she grew up, her parents helped her to grow in faith. When she was twenty years old, Jane married Christophe. The coupled shared “one heart and one soul.” They truly loved each other. They shared their love and their deep faith with their four children. One day, Christophe was killed in a hunting accident. Before he died, he forgave the man who shot him. He said, “Do not hate yourself. You have done nothing wrong.” Jane was heartbroken with grief. She struggled to forgive the man. She prayed to God to help her. Eventually, she was able to forgive the man.
Jane Frances’s spiritual director was Saint Francis de Sales. Her oldest daughter married his brother. Together, Jane Frances and Francis de Sales founded eighty-six religious houses before Jane’s death, including the order of the Visitation. The Visitation convents accepted widows and others who could not participate in other convents. Saint Jane Frances is the patron of forgotten people, widows, and the loss of parents.
Discuss: How can you be forgiving?
Explain that Saint Jane found it hard to forgive the man who killed her husband. But she finally did with God’s help. Every day we hold onto things that hurt us. Play a game of hot potato with your child and a few other family members. Explain that whoever catches the potato should describe a time when they forgave someone else (without using names, just descriptions of events). If they wish to describe a time they did not forgive, they may also describe this type of situation.