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Ordinary Time: August 12th

Optional Memorial of St. Jane Frances de Chantal, religious (USA)

Daily Readings for: August 12, 2013
(Readings on USCCB website)

Collect: O God, who made Saint Jane Frances de Chantal radiant with outstanding merits in different walks of life, grant us, through her intercession, that walking faithfully in our vocation, we may constantly be examples of shining light. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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Old Calendar: St. Clare, virgin; St. Euplius, martyr (Hist)

St. Jane was a married woman and a mother of seven children from Dijon, France. Her husband was killed in a hunting accident. In 1604, upon being deeply moved by the preaching of Francis de Sales, Jane asked him to become her spiritual director. She founded the Visitation nuns in 1610. Jane worked tirelessly helping the sick, and she convinced local political rulers to make special provisions for the sick and the bereaved. During the last years of her life, she experienced periods of spiritual aridity. She established eighty-five monasteries before her death in 1641.

According to the 1962 Missal of Bl. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of St. Clare. Historically it is the feast of St. Euplius, a deacon, under Emperors Diocletian and Maximian. He was tortured for his confession of Christ and finally martyred by being put to the sword.


St. Jane Frances de Chantal
Jane Frances Fremiot de Chantal was the foundress of the Order of the Visitation of Mary. She was born in 1572 and came from a noble family, her father gave her in marriage to the Baron von Chantal in 1592. As mother she most zealously instructed the children in the ways of virtue and piety and in the observance of every divine precept. With great generosity she supported the poor and took special joy in seeing how divine Providence often blesses and increases the smallest larder. Therefore she made a vow never to refuse anyone who asked for alms in the Name of Christ.

The death of her husband, who was accidentally shot while on the chase (1601), she bore with Christ-like composure and with all her heart forgave the person who had killed him; then she acted as sponsor for one of his children in order to show her forgiveness openly. 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.

Thus, too, it should be with us—firm yet forgiving, and each at the proper place and in the proper measure. Our zeal must not make us hard, fanatic; neither may love degenerate into sentimentalism. In fundamentals, in faith, and in the commandments we must be firm, immovable, with no trace of tolerance; but in our contacts with men, patient, forgiving, tender, conciliatory. The Christian ought be firm and resolute as a father, mild and self-sacrificing as a mother. This tension between complementary virtues we find exemplified in a heroic degree in St. Jane Frances de Chantal.

Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch.

"Love! love! love! my daughters; I know nothing else." Thus did Jane de Chantal, the glorious cooperatrix of St. Francis in establishing the Visitation of holy Mary, often cry out in her latter years. "Mother", said one of the sisters, "I shall write to our houses that your charity is growing old, and that, like your godfather St. John, you can speak of nothing but love." To which the saint replied: "My daughter, do not make such a comparison, for we must not profane the saints by comparing them to poor sinners; but you will do me a pleasure if you tell those sisters that if I went by my own feelings, if I followed my inclination, and if I were not afraid of wearying the sisters, I should never speak of anything but charity; and I assure you, I scarcely ever open my mouth to speak of holy things, without having a mind to say: Thou shalt love the Lord with thy whole heart, and thy neighbour as thyself."

Patron: Forgotten people; in-law problems; loss of parents; parents separated from children; widows.

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St. Euplius
On August 12, 304 A.D., during the persecution of Diocletian at Catania, in Sicily, a deacon named Euplius was brought to the governor's hall and staunchly professed his faith. With the Book of Gospels in his hand, he was called before the governor Calvisian and commanded to read from it. The saint read the passage: "Blest are they who suffer persecution for justice's sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven." Euplius then read the passage: "If anyone will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." Questioned by the governor as to what this meant, the youth replied: "It is the law of my Lord, which has been delivered to me." Calvisian asked: "By whom?" Euplius replied: "By Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God." With that, the governor ordered that he be led away to be tortured. At the height of his torment Euplius was asked if he still persisted in Christianity. The saintly youth answered: "What I said before, I say again: I am a Christian and I read the Sacred Scriptures." The governor realized that he would never give up his faith, and ordered him to be beheaded. St. Euplius died April 29, 304 A.D., praising God all the while.

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