Tuesday August 12thwill be the Feast of the Foundress of the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary, St. Jane Frances de Chantal. The well-known Cardinal Berulle, founder of the French Oratory, once said of St. Jane that she was one of God’s greatest lovers on earth!
St. Jane did not wait to become a foundress or religious nun to love God. She loved Him from childhood and this love intensified from her widowhood.
“She was so well pleased with her solitude, to be alone with her Love, that she abandoned all worldly and useless conversations at that time and never entered into society, except when duty,charity, or civility required it. This holy love went on purifying her; it urged her to that which was good, admonished, instructed, separated her from everything, and at last imprisoned her gloriously in a small house, to commence our little congregation.
Her love, though favored with great heavenly joy, was strong, generous, and perfectly independent of all spiritual pleasure and sensible sweetness; a courageous love to undertake things for the glory of God, a constant love, supporting her in her labors; a love bold in difficulties; a love submissive in opposition; a love always adhering to the Divine Will, a love wise and discreet; a love perfectly disinterested and free from selfishness; a love which made her resign everything to the Providence of her Lover; a love of simple confidence; a love of a spouse and a daughter, which remained ever firm, and perfectly chaste and filial; an humble love, which induced her to desire her total annihilation, in order that her Well-beloved might thereby be exalted; a love which confirmed her in perfect oblivion of self by a continual remembrance of her God; a love of conformity which made her rejoice in following in holy abjection Jesus Christ abject, in living in the agony of Calvary, in the sufferings of desertion on the cross, tasting but gall and vinegar in her interior, and occasionally contempt and contradiction from men; such was the holy love which enabled her to persevere to the end with an ever increasing fidelity in the service of God.
His Eminence the Cardinal Berulle, founder of the (French) Oratory, and who died in the odor of sanctity, once when he was administering communion to our Holy Mother at Dijon, after she was a widow, perceived by a supernatural light that this soul was interiorly directed by an extraordinary road. After Mass he inquired who was that widow, and said, “Her heart is an altar where the fire of love is never extinguished, and it will become so vehement, that it will consume not only the sacrifices, but the altar,” which indeed came to pass.
When our Holy Mother was in Paris for the foundation of the first house, this Cardinal went to visit her, and said, on his return, to the Countess de St. Paul, a princess of high interior piety, that he had seen one of the greatest lovers God had on earth. He took several ladies to convene with our Holy Mother on their interior life, telling them that she was the amorous Shunamite, destined to lead her companions in celestial love through the most perilous paths.”
Source: Mother de Chaugy’s Life and Virtues of St Jane de Chantal