Memorial of Saint Jane Frances Chantal
Today we celebrate another foundress of a religious order, St. Jane Frances Chantal (b. 1562), the foundress of Visitation order. Born in France, she married a nobleman and raised six children. After her husband was killed in a hunting accident, Jane placed herself under the guidance of the bishop, St. Francis de Sales. With his encouragement and support, Jane Frances Chantal founded the Visitation sisters. This order centers on the virtues of Mary, namely, meekness and humility, to undertake the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. She died in 1641.
The reading from Matthew presents us with the image of God rejoices each time a child of God comes back to God (Matthew 18:12-14). The First Week of the Spiritual Exercises asks the retreatant to examine the times in his or her life when he or she has strayed from God. At the close of this week, despite the individual’s sins, God desires to have a meaningful relationship with each human person because each person is a child of God (Romans 8:16-17). Thus, despite our wanderings, God, as the Good Shepherd, continuously calls each person back to God and celebrates when we return.