Feast of St. Jane (Joan) of Valois (February 5)   Leave a comment

Map of France in 1453

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT JANE (JOAN) OF VALOIS (APRIL 23, 1464-FEBRUARY 4, 1505)

Cofounder of the Sisters of the Annunciation

Her feast transferred from February 4

Joan of France was a daughter of King Louis XI of France (reigned 1461-1483).  He was a schemer who enhanced royal authority.  These plots entailed the arranged marriage of Joan to the king’s second cousin, Louis, the Duke of Orleans.  It was a loveless marriage between the pious child bride Joan (aged nine years), who wanted to devote her life to God, and the Duke, who preferred a life of pleasure.  They were married in name only.

Joan’s brother became King Charles VIII in 1483, reigning until 1498.  Since Charles VIII died childless, the throne passed to the Duke of Orleans, who became Louis XII (reigned 1498-1515).  The new king asked Pope Alexander VI to annul the marriage to Joan, based on false and salacious rumors about details ranging from a spinal deformity to alleged witchcraft and sexual problems.  The Holy Father consented to the annulment for political reasons in 1498, and Joan entered exile at Bourges as Duchess of Berry.  She prayed for her former husband and devoted herself to social, educational, and monastic work.

The Duchess founded a college, established scholarships for the poor, worked to reform prostitutes, cared for the sick, and helped the needy.  And, in 1502, with the help of her confessor, Father Gabriel Mary, a Fransiscan priest, she founded the Sisters of the Annunciation, a Franciscan order devoted to encouraging living according the virtues manifested the life of St. Mary of Nazareth.

Joan died in 1505, aged forty years.  Beatified in 1742, she became St. Jane of Valois in 1950.

The life of St. Jane of Valois demonstrates the value of living according to the standards of compassion and forgiveness.  Compassion is far more than a warm, fuzzy feeling; it is active and observable in deeds.

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God our sovereign, we thank you for the holy example of St. Jane of Valois, who overcame difficult circumstances and maintained her faith and compassion.  May we, in our trials, remain close to you and find our difficult circumstances nothing less than opportunities to serve you and help others.  In your name we pray.  Amen.

Micah 6:6-8

Psalm 70

Hebrews 13:1-16

Luke 1:46-56

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 22, 2010 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ST. FRANCES XAVIER CABRINI, FOUNDER OF THE MISSIONARY SISTERS OF THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS

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Revised on November 27 2016

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