Divine Beauty

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

St. Jane de Chantal

[Originally published August 11, 2014]

Nuns and television have a long history.
Since the 1200s.
August 11 is the day we honor St. Clare (1194-1253). She was inspired by the preaching of St. Francis and founded the "Poor Clares" order. She was a kindred spirit to St. Francis, with whom she worked, and assisted during his final illness.

In 1958 she was named the Patroness of Television by Pope Pius XII. When St. Clare was too ill to get out of bed and assist at Mass, it is said she could miraculously watch it on the wall of her cell.

In 1981, a Poor Clares nun known in her secular life as Rita Rizzo founded a television network. The nun is better known as Mother Angelica, and her network is, of course, the Eternal Word Television Network, EWTN.

Today we celebrate the life of St. Jane Francis de Chantal (1572-1641). The chatelaine of the castle of Bourbilly was left a widow with four children at the age of 28. Just as St. Clare is forever associated with St. Francis, so St. Jane Francis de Chantal is associated with St. Francis de Sales, the Bishop of Geneva. He would be her spiritual director until his death. She founded the Congregation of the Visitation, which grew through her capable administration to 86 houses at the time of her death.

It is recorded that when she set out to enter religious life her son threw himself onto the threshold of their home. Although not without some maternal anguish, she stepped over the boy in a spirit of holy resolve (or perhaps the Bear's counsel of Holy Stubbornness). (She had provided for their care before embarking on that course.)

St. Jane Francis de Chantal is known to us from her writings and letters. She suffered from interior trials for much of her religious life. St. Vincent de Paul -- her spiritual director after St. Francis de Sales' death -- wrote:
She was full of faith, yet all her life had been tormented by thoughts against it. While apparently enjoying the peace and easiness of mind of souls who have reached a high state of virtue, she suffered such interior trials that she often told me her mind was so filled with all sorts of temptations and abominations that she had to strive not to look within herself...But for all that suffering her face never lost its serenity, nor did she once relax in the fidelity God asked of her. And so I regard her as one of the holiest souls I have ever met on this earth
She is the patron of widows, parents separated from children, and problems with inlaws. She is a reminder that practicality and holiness are not incompatible, and that even saints sometimes dare not look within themselves for fear of the howling darkness within. "For we walk by faith, not by sight." 2 Cor 5:7.

Finally, her name is the nom de plume of one of our own earliest and most faithful commentators, Jane Chantal.

 Also August 12 is the Bear's birthday. He will be 1315 years old.

Just stack the presents to my left.


  1. Bon anniversaire, Monsieur Bear :-)

    1. Thank you, Jane. It is always a pleasure to find your thoughts in the combox.


    Enjoy the day. The cake looks scrumptious.

    1. The Bear actually got his favorite: carrot cake!

  3. Ursine salutations and may the Harry and David Honey Cake Gift-a-Month Club membership befall you.

  4. Happy birthday, Bear! I hope St. Corbinian sent many blessings.

    1. Thanks, Elizabeth. I am blessed in so many ways, including those with whom this blog has linked me.

  5. Happy Birthday Bear! And 1,593 more! :)

    1. Thank you, Badger! The Bear suspects there are nowhere near that many years before The End.

  6. Happy Birthday + one day!
    I love your picture with the cake!
    I hope you post something about tomorrow's Feast of the Martyrs of Otranto.
    It is a good history lesson for all! There are pics of the church in Otranto lined with the 800 skulls of the Otranti, beheaded by the (surprise!) Muslims because they would not convert.
    I love your blog! & your sense of humor.

    1. Thanks! Your idea is good, but I don't want to siphon readership away from Dear Reinhard 2. That's why I try not to have more than one "big" article a day. (Although I posted three yesterday for various reasons.) When I see interest flagging, then I know it's time to post something new. Perhaps I could do a late piece.


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