Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Intercessor for the sick - St. Jane Frances de Chantal

Every so often a saint's memorial/feast day comes up and I think to myself, "How did I not know about him/her until now?" It was just this way with St. Jane Frances de Chantal.

What a way to start a marriage! Jane no sooner arrived at her new home then she discovered she might lose it. Her husband, Christophe, had not only inherited the title of baron but enormous debts as well.

But Jane had not come to the marriage empty-handed. She brought with her a deep faith instilled by her father who made daily religious discussion fun, allowing the children to talk about anything -- even controversial topics. She also brought a good-hearted way that made a friend comment, "Even stupid jokes were funny when she told them."

These qualities helped the twenty-year-old French woman take charge by personally organizing and supervising every detail of the estate, a method which not only brought the finances under control but won her employees' hearts as well.

Despite the early financial worries, she and her husband shared "one heart and one soul." They were devoted to each other and to their four children.

One way Jane shared her blessings was by giving bread and soup personally to the poor who came to her door. Often people who had just received food from her would pretend to leave, go around the house and get back in line for more. When asked why she let these people get away with this, Jane said, "What if God turned me away when I came back to him again and again with the same request?"

Her happiness was shattered when Christophe was killed in a hunting accident. Before he died, her husband forgave the man who shot him, saying to the man, "Don't commit the sin of hating yourself when you have done nothing wrong." The heartbroken Jane, however, had to struggle with forgiveness for a long time. At first she tried just greeting him on the street. When she was able to do that, she invited him to her house. Finally she was able to forgive the man so completely that she even became godmother to his child.

These troubles opened her heart to her longing for God and she sought God in prayer and a deepening spiritual life. Her commitment to God impressed Saint Francis de Sales, the bishop who became her director and best friend. Their friendship started before they even met, for them saw each other in dreams, and continued in letters throughout their lives.

With Francis' support, Jane founded the Visitation order for women who were rejected by other orders because of poor health or age. She even accepted a woman who was 83 years old. When people criticized her, she said, "What do you want me to do? I like sick people myself; I'm on their side." She believed that people should have a chance to live their calling regardless of their health.

Still a devoted mother, she was constantly concerned about the materialistic ways of one of her daughters. Her daughter finally asked her for spiritual direction as did may others, including an ambassador and her brother, an archbishop. Her advice always reflected her very gentle and loving approach to spirituality:

"Should you fall even fifty times a day, never on any account should that surprise or worry you. Instead, ever so gently set your heart back in the right direction and practice the opposite virtue, all the time speaking words of love and trust to our Lord after you have committed a thousand faults, as much as if you had committed only one. Once we have humbled ourselves for the faults God allows us to become aware of in ourselves, we must forget them and go forward."

She died in 1641, at sixty-nine years of age.

(taken from

Wow! What a woman. I find her so inspirational for so many reasons! Her statement, "What if God turned me away when I came back to him again and again with the same request?" both assures me that God does not get bothered when we continue to pray for the same intention, and at the same time encourages me never to lose patience when things are demanded of me again and again.

This woman was incredible. A mother of four in her first vocation as a wife, and in her second vocation as a nun, she founded the Visitation order and then proceeded to found 85 monasteries in the next 31 years before her death. That is one determined woman. And this wasn't just any religious order, this was specifically an order for women rejected by other orders due to sickness or old age. St. Jane put in bluntly saying, "What do you want me to do? I like sick people myself; I'm on their side." She believed that people should have a chance to live their calling regardless of their health.

She worked tirelessly helping the sick, and she convinced local political rulers to make special provisions for the sick and the bereaved. I think she is a fantastic person to be asking for prayer today for two reasons.

1) We need her intercession as ObamaCare is debated and voted on in September. If you've paid careful attention to exactly what is laid out in this governmental health care plan you know that we desperately need to pray that the most vulnerable among us (the unborn, the weak, the sick, the elderly) will receive the protection and health care that they deserve as part of their human dignity...something severely lacking in the bill as it currently stands. It is truly frightening. We need St. Jane Frances de Chantal's prayers and intercession. May she work tirelessly from heaven to continue helping the sick and convincing our national politicians to care for the sick, no matter their state or condition.

2) I don't think it's any "coincidence" that on the day that we celebrate the memory of a St. Jane Frances de Chantal and her work on behalf of the sick, that Dave and I would receive our first bill from the hospital for my surgery. At least now we know how much the surgery cost....are you ready for this?


This is the bill from the hospital and they have indicated that all of it was sent to insurance, so we can only continue praying that insurance will, in fact, cover the 85% that they have promised and that due to the remainder of our co-pay and other factors, we would only have to pay up to the approximate $800 that we were quotes as an initial estimation.'s going to get very very interesting to say the least. God will provide.

I did have to laugh at the breakdown of the bill though:
Pharmacy $312.45
Pharmacy IV Solutions $102.50
Non Sterile Supply $318.25
Sterile Supply $2,906.25
Implants Other $906.75
Laboratory $238.00
Laboratory Chemistry $123.25
Laboratory Hematology $85.75
Pathology $633.50
Radiology Diagnostic $694.00
Operating Room Services $21,081.25
Minor Surgery $68.75
Supplies Incident to Rad $167.00
Drug-Requiring Detailed Code $307.40
Drugs-Self Administrable $46.15
Recovery Room $1,967.50
EKG/ECG $167.25
Treatment OR Observation Room $77.75
Observation Room $565.00

The things that jump out at me?
"Implants Other" for $906.75...did I miss something? What kind of "implants" did I get here? I wasn't aware of any!
"Recovery Room" for $1,! That's about $1,000 per hour I was in recovery.
"Observation Room" for $565.00...we're pretty sure that that is the charge for me being held overnight in the hospital. Wow!

I could go on, but you get the picture. It is WICKED expensive! Praise God that we have insurance...we only hope that it covers this. Do we need to reform health care? Absolutely! But we cannot reform insurance at the sake of killing unborn children and denying health care to the sick and the elderly. Yes...St. Jane Frances de Chantel, please pray for us.

~ Following in the footsteps of St. Jane Frances de Chantel ~

We have been told the secret of happiness is finding:
finding yourself, finding love, finding the right job.
Jane believed the secret of happiness was in "losing,"
that we should "throw ourselves into God
as a little drop of water into the sea,
and lose ourselves indeed in the Ocean of the divine goodness."
She advised a man who wrote to her about all
the afflictions he suffered "to lose all these things in God.
These words produced such an effect in the soul,
that he wrote me that he was wholly astonished, and ravished with joy."

Today, when any thoughts or worries come to mind,
send them out into the ocean of God's love
that surrounds you and lose them there.
If any feelings come into your heart -- grief, fear, even joy or longing,
send those out into the ocean of God's love.
Finally, send your whole self, like a drop, into God.
There is no past no future, here or there.
There is only the infinite ocean of God.

1 comment:

  1. Great post!! She sounds like an amazing woman!!! Praying your surgery will be covered!!!