Her family was a very happy one, and she deeply loved her husband, Baron de Chantal, and their children. But then, an unexpected tragedy came to them. One day in 1601 her husband was out hunting. A terrible thing happened – one of the men with whom he was hunting accidentally shot him, and he died. When she was told what happened, she was grief-stricken – but instead of reacting with anger towards the man who had killed her husband, St. Jane forgave him. In fact, she even agreed to be the godmother to one of his children. This heroic act of forgiveness shows her deep faith in Christ.
Now that she was a widow, and as her children we growing up, St. Jane felt more and more that she wanted to spend her time in prayer, giving adoration to God and praying for the needs of others. She had a very holy priest as her spiritual director, St. Francis de Sales, and as St. Jane talked with him about her desire to give her life over to prayer, he encouraged her to form a community for herself and others like her. She founded the Community of the Visitation Nuns – reflecting the time when the Blessed Virgin Mary withdrew from her life in Nazareth, and went to visit her cousin St. Elizabeth, the mother of St. John the Baptist. There was a holy friendship between her and her spiritual guide, Francis de Sales; with his approval she left her father and children and founded the Visitation nuns. She spent the rest of her life showing her love for God and for others by living a life of prayer until she died, in 1641 when she was nearly seventy years old.
St. Jane gave herself completely to God – first through the sacrament of marriage, then as a loving mother to her children, and finally in religious life.
Almighty and merciful God, who didst enkindle St. Jane Frances de Chantal with thy love, and endue her with wondrous constancy of spirit through all the paths of life in the way of perfection: Grant by her merits and prayers, that we who, knowing our infirmity, put our trust in thy power, may by the help of thy heavenly grace overcome all things that are contrary to thy Will; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.