A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths
Sainte Jeanne-Françoise de Chantal (St Jane Frances de Chantal VHM, Baronne de Chantal, Johanna Franziska Fremyot de Chantal) (1572-1641). Roman Catholic Feast Day for noble, refined and beautiful Burgundian Catholic who, having turned down two prior suitors, in 1592 married the Baron de Chantal to live in the feudal castle of Bourbilly. She gained a reputation as an excellent manager of the estates of her husband and provided alms and nursing care to needy neighbours. Left a widow at 28 with four children, she took a vow of chastity and in 1602 closed up Bourbilly. In 1604, she went to Dijon to hear the Bishop of Geneva preach the Lenten sermons and he befriended her and became her spiritual director, bidding her to avoid scruples, hurry and anxiety of mind, which above all things hinder a soul on the road to spiritual perfection. In 1610, Jane Frances was invited by Francis de Sales to co-found in Annecy the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary (VHM, Ordo Visitation’s Beatissimae Mariae Virginis), an enclosed Roman Catholic religious order for women whose members are known as the Salesian Sisters (Visitation Sisters, Visitandines), who are not to be confused with the Salesian Sisters of Don Bosco. Jane Frances promoted a new type of religious life open to older women and those of a delicate constitution, that stressed the hidden, inner virtues of humility, obedience, poverty, even-tempered charity and patience, and that was founded on the example of Mary in her journey of mercy to her cousin Elizabeth. The order welcomed those not able to practise the austerities required by other orders and there were no night offices, perpetual abstinences or prolonged fasting. When people criticised her, Chantal famously said: “What do you want me to do? I like sick people myself; I’m on their side.” The motto of the order is Live Jesus. When Francis de Sales died in 1622, there were 13 convents and at the death of Jane Frances in Moulins on 13 December 1641 there were 86. The Order spread from France throughout Europe and to North America and in 2021 there are about 150 autonomous Visitation monasteries across the world. The Order of the Visitation has been present in Portugal since 1784, England 1804, Germany 1835, Colombia 1892, Ireland 1955, Korea 2005, and in the USA dating back to 1799 there are 10 monasteries in two federations. Venerated in Roman Catholic Church. Major shrine Annecy, Savoy. Patron of forgotten people, in-law problems, loss of parents, parents separated from children, widows. Image: rdb.mg.
Prayer O Glorious Saint, Blessed Jane Frances, who by thy fervent prayer, attention to the divine Presence and purity of intention in thy actions didst attain on earth an intimate union with God, be now our advocate, our mother, our guide in the path of virtue and perfection. Plead our cause near Jesus, Mary and Joseph, to whom thou wast so tenderly devoted and whose holy virtues thou didst so closely imitate. Obtain for us, O amiable and compassionate Saint the virtues thou seest most necessary for us: an ardent love of Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament, a tender and filial confidence in His blessed Mother, and like thee, a constant remembrance of His sacred passion and death. Amen
St Michael My (d1838). Feast Day commemorating the death of the mayor of a town in Vietnam when the persecution of Christians started who was a Martyr of Vietnam. 117 Vietnamese Martyrs (Các Thánh Tử đạo Việt Nam, Martyrs du Viêt Nam, Martyrs of Annam, Martyrs of Tonkin and Cochinchina, Martyrs of Indochina) were canonised in 1988, 96 Vietnamese, 11 Spanish and 10 French, the Vatican estimating the total number of Vietnamese Martyrs at between 130,000 and 300,000. They fall into several groupings, including those of the Dominican and Jesuit missionary era of the Eighteenth Century and those killed in the politically-inspired persecutions of the Nineteenth Century. The tortures they underwent are considered by the Vatican to be among the worst in the history of Christian martyrdom. Many officials preferred to avoid execution, because of the threat to social order and harmony it represented, and resorted to the use of threats or torture in order to force Catholics to recant. Many villagers were executed alongside priests and Catholic villages were forced to build shrines to the state cult. The amount of money that the French mission societies were able to raise made the missionaries a lucrative target for officials who wanted cash, which could even surpass what the imperial court was offering in rewards, and this created a cycle of extortion and bribery that lasted for years. Image: thedailymass.com.
St Murtagh (Morduch mac Echdach). Feast Day for noble Fifth-Century Irish founding Bishop of Killala, west of Sligo, who was in 443 appointed Bishop by the patron saint of Ireland St Patrick, of whose family he was a member. Resigning after a few years as Bishop, Murtagh retired to Donegal Bay and built a hermitage on the island of Inishmurray (Inis Muirígh) 7 km off the Sligo coast. He went on to found a monastery there, where he died. The island has been uninhabited since 1948. Murtagh is the Anglicised form of the Gaelic Ó Muircheartaigh (descendant of Muircheartach) a personal name from muir (sea) and ceardach (skilled) and so has its origin in the skilled navigators of the time, who also became the Moriarties (MacMoriarty) and the Ulster and Scots Murdocks (McMurtry). Image: en.wikipedia.org.