Saint of the day 20150204

04 February

SAINT JANE OF VALOIS
Queen and Religious
(+ 1505)

Born of the blood royal of France, herself a queen, Jane of Valois led a life remarkable for its humiliations even in the annals of the Saints. Her father, Louis XI., who had hoped for a son to succeed him, banished Jane from his palace, and, it is said, even attempted her life. At the age of five the neglected child offered her whole heart to God, and yearned to do some special service in honor of His blessed Mother.

At the king’s wish, though against her own inclination, she was married to the Duke of Orleans. Towards an indifferent and unworthy husband her conduct was ever most patient and dutiful. Her prayers and tears saved him from a traitor’s death and shortened the captivity which his rebellion had merited. Still nothing could win a heart which was already given to another. When her husband ascended the throne as Louis XII., his first act was to repudiate by false representations one who through twenty-two years of cruel neglect had been his true and loyal wife.

At the final sentence of separation, the saintly queen exclaimed, “God be praised Who has allowed this, that I may serve Him better . than I have heretofore done.” Retiring to Bourges, she there realized her long-formed desire of founding the Order of the Annunciation, in honor of the Mother of God.

Under the guidance of St. Francis of Paula, the director of her childhood, St. Jane was enabled to overcome the serious obstacles which even good people raised against the foundation of her new Order. In 1501 the rule of the Annunciation was finally approved by Alexander VI. The chief aim of the institute was to imitate the ten virtues practised by Our Lady in the mystery of the Incarnation, the superioress being called “Ancelle,” handmaid, in honor of Mary’s humility. St. Jane built and endowed the first convent of the Order in 1502.

She died in heroic sanctity, 1505, and was buried in the royal crown and purple, beneath which lay the habit of her Order.

Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894]

Other saints: St Gilbert of Sempringham (1083 – 1190)
He was born at Sempringham, near Bourne in Lincolnshire, the son of Jocelin, an Anglo-Norman lord of the manor, who sent him to the University of Paris to study theology; it may be that he had some deformity which barred him from the military career which would normally have been expected. When he returned home in 1120 he became a clerk in the household of Robert Bloet, Bishop of Lincoln, started a school for boys and girls, and was finally ordained by Robert’s successor, Alexander.
When his father died in 1130 and he became lord of the manor of Sempringham, he used his inherited wealth to found an order of monks and nuns, known as the GIlbertines.
When he was 90, some of his lay brothers revolted and spread serious calumnies against him, but he received the support of King Henry II, and Pope Alexander III freed him from suspicion and confirmed the privileges granted to the order. Gilbert resigned his office late in life because of blindness and ill health, and died at Sempringham in about 1190, at the age of 106.
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