Saint of the Day – 28 March – Blessed Jeanne Marie de Maille TOSF (1331-1414) Virgin, Widow,

Saint of the Day – 28 March – Blessed Jeanne Marie de Maille TOSF (1331-1414) Virgin, Widow, Recluse Born on 14 April 1331 at the Castle of La Roche, France and died on 28 March 1414 at Tours France of natural causes. Patronages – abuse victims, against in-law problems, against the death of parents, of exiles, people ridiculed for their piety, widows. Also known as – Jane Mary de Maille. Jeanne Marie was Beatified on 27 April 1871 by Pope Pius IX .

Jeanne, the daughter of the wealthy Baron of Maille, was born at the chateau of her father near St Quentin in France. Because she possessed, from her earliest youth, a tender devotion and love for the Blessed Virgin Mary, she was given the additional name of Marie at Confirmation and from then on, she always used it with her Baptismal name. Under the direction of a Franciscan, who conducted the divine services at the chateau, she strove earnestly to attain perfection. Self-denial, mortification, prayer and works of charity towards her neighbour were the special means she employed.

Jeanne Marie was scarcely fifteen years old when her father died. She was placed under the guardianship of her grandfather, who was already quite advanced in years and who, therefore, believed it his duty to see his grandchild settled in life, as soon as possible. He chose as her husband Baron Robert of Silly, a man who was noble both by birth and by virtue. On the evening of their wedding day the grandfather died suddenly. This made such an impression on the pious husband that he readily yielded to the wish of his young wife to live in virginity.

The young couple’s first concern was to order their household in a Christian fashion. Only virtuous and God-fearing persons were admitted as their servants; all had to observe the commandments of God and of the Church faithfully; frivolous conversations, cursing and swearing, as well as games of chance, were not tolerated. In everything their Master and Mistress set the best example. Jeanne Marie interested herself too, in all the needs of her people and never sent a needy person away from her door without giving him assistance.

But the cross is the real test of all true fidelity to God;and it was not to be wanting in this home either. A terrible war broke out between England and France. The Baron of Silly and his vassals took the field in defence of their country but the war was disastrous for France.

Mortally wounded, the young Baron was brought to his chateau but hardly had he arrived there, when the English took possession of it and led him away as a prisoner. Through the efforts of his faithful wife, he obtained his freedom but he died not long afterwards.

Her in-laws were unkind to her and blamed her for her husband squandering his fortune for charitable ends and so deprived her of her widow’s inheritance and cut ties with her. completely. She first went to seek shelter at the home of an old ex-servant but the servant treated her with harshness, when realising she was poor. She went to reside with her mother but left when the latter tried to pressure her into finding another husband. Now Jeanne Marie withdrew entirely from the world. She moved to a little house near the Franciscan Church in Tours. Dressed in the ash-grey habit of the Third Order, she went out to nurse the sick and the poor. The remaining time she spent in prayer.

She prayed especially that God might bless the labours of Priests, particularly those who preached the Divine Word. She prayed most of all for the Universal Church, which at that time had to endure one of its severest trials. Christendom was divided into two groups – one pope resided in Italy, another in France and even saintly people did not know which one was the rightful head of the Church. Confusion and many scandals were the inevitable results. Had the Church been the work of human hands, it must certainly have gone to ruin. In answer to the prayers of many pious souls, God came to the assistance of the Church and Jeanne Marie had the consolation, before her death, of seeing the Church again united under one head.

Blessed Jeanne Marie de Maille died in the year 1414, at the age of eighty-two years. When her remains, clothed in the habit of the Third Order, were brought into the Church, the body appeared to have the freshness of youth. The veneration paid to her since her death was approved by Pope Pius IX.

The Shrine of Blessed Jeanne Marie de Maille

Saint of the Day – 21 August – St Jane Frances de Chantal (1572-1641) Widow,

Saint of the Day – 21 August – St Jane Frances de Chantal (1572-1641) Widow, Mother, Foundress of the Congregation of the Visitation. Close friend of St Francis de Sales and St Vincent de Paul, both of whom guided and assisted her and her foundation, spiritually Patronages – against in-law problems, against the death of parents, forgotten people, parents separated from children, widows.

St Jane Frances de Chantal, Widow
From the Liturgical Year, 1909

Jane Frances Freiniot de Chantal was born at Dijon in Burgundy, France, of noble parents and from her childhood gave clear signs of her future great sanctity. It was said that when only five years of age, she put to silence a Calvinist nobleman by substantial arguments, far beyond her age, and, when he offered her a little present, she immediately threw it into the fire, saying: “This is how heretics will burn in hell because they do not believe Christ when He speaks.

When she lost her mother, she put herself under the care of the Virgin Mother of God,and dismissed a maid servant who was enticing her to love of the world. There was nothing childish in her manners. she shrank from worldly pleasures, and thirsting for martyrdom, she devoted herself entirely to religion and piety. She was given in marriage by her father to the Baron de Chantal and in this new state of life, she strove to cultivate every virtue and busied herself in instructing in faith and morals, her children, her servants and all under her authority. Her liberality in relieving the necessities of the poor was very great and more than once, God miraculously multiplied her stores of provisions – on this account, she promised never to refuse anyone who begged an alms in Christ’s Name.

Her husband, having been killed while hunting, she determined to embrace a more perfect life and bound herself ,by a vow of chastity. She not only bore her husband’s death with resignation but, overcame herself, so far, as to stand as the Godmother, to the child of the man who had killed him, in order to give a public proof that she pardoned him. She contented herself with a few servants and with plain food and dress, devoting her costly garments, to pious usages. Whatever time remained from her domestic cares, she employed in prayer, pious reading and good works. She could never be induced to accept offers of a second marriage, even though, honourable and advantageous. In order not to be shaken in her resolution of observing chastity, she renewed her vow and imprinted the most Holy Name of Jesus Christ upon her breast with a red-hot iron. Her love grew more ardent day by day. She had the poor, the abandoned, the sick and those, who were afflicted with the most terrible diseases, brought to her and not only sheltered, and comforted but also, nursed them. She washed and mended their filthy garments and did not shrink from putting her lips to their running sores.

Having learnt the will of God from St Francis de Sales, her Director, she founded the Institute of the Visitation of Our Lady. For this purpose, she quitted, with unfaltering courage, her father, her father-in-law and even her son, over whose body she had to step, in order to leave her home, so violently did he oppose her vocation. She observed her Rule with the utmost fidelity and so great was her love of poverty that she rejoiced to be in want, of even the necessaries of life.

She was a perfect model of Christian humility, obedience, and all other virtues. Wishing for still higher ascensions in her heart, she bound herself by a most difficult vow, always to do what she thought most perfect. At length when the Order of the Visitation had spread far and wide, chiefly through her endeavours, after encouraging her sisters to piety and charity, by words and example and also, by writings full of divine wisdom, laden with merits, she passed to the Lord at Moulins, having duly received the Sacraments of the Church. She died on the 13 December, in the year 1641.

St Vincent de Paul, who was, at a great distance, saw her soul being carried to Heaven and St Francis de Sales coming to meet her. Her body was afterwards translated to Annecy. Miracles having made her illustrious, both before and after her death, Pope Benedict XIV. placed her among the Blessed and Pope Clement XIII. among the Saints. Pope Clement XIV. commanded her Feast to be celebrated by the Universal Church.

More details of St Jane’s Life:


Saint of the Day – 30 July – Saint Godelieve (c 1049-1070)

Saint of the Day – 30 July – Saint Godelieve (c 1049-1070) Flemish Married Laywoman. Born in c 1049 at Londefort-lez-Boulogne, France and died by murder by being strangled by her mother-in-law’s and husband’s servants on 6 July 1070 at Gistel, Belgium. Patronages – difficult marriages, against abuse and spousal abuse, against throat diseases, in-law problems, for good weather and against storms. Also known as – Godelieve of, Ghistelles, Godelieve of Gistel, Godaleva, Godeleine, Godeleva, Godeliève, Godelina, Godeliva, Godelive, Godelva, Godliva.

The Cross and Death of St Godelieve
By Fr Francis Xavier Weninger SJ (1805-1888)

“Godelieve was a native of France and the daughter of rich and noble parents, who neglected nothing, to give her an education in accor,dance with her station in life. She united with most exquisite beauty, great virtue and piety and hence was early sought in holy matrimony by many young men of the nobility. Among these, a certain Bertulph of the Netherlands, who seemed her equal in rank, gained her parent’s consent and Godeliva submitted to their will.

Having received a dowry according to her position, she went, accompanied by some of her relatives, to the Netherlands, where her marriage was to take place. But how surprising an evidence of the inconstancy of human love! Scarcely had the noble bride arrived under the roof of her future husband, when she perceived that Bertulph’s love for her was changed into hatred and aversion, as he hardly deigned to look at her. His wicked mother, if not the first, was not the last cause of this unexpected change – as she reproached her son for having chosen a foreigner for his wife, as if, in his own country, her equal in beauty and virtue could not be found. She found fault with everything the innocent Godeliva said or did and thus inflamed, the fire of contention, to such a degree that later, only the blood of the pious Godeliva could quench it.

The poor maiden’s sadness may easily be conceived but she hoped that these dark clouds would pass away. Meanwhile the arrangements for the wedding were completed and it accordingly took place. Bertulph, however, was present only during the ceremony, as he was unable to hide his aversion for his bride. He appointed a separate dwelling for her and remained with his parents, declaring that he would not hear or see anything of her, so great was the hatred he bore her. The deeply grieved Godeliva, seeing herself thus forsaken by men, sought for refuge with God. Day and night, she was on her knees imploring the Almighty to change Bertulph’s heart and fill it with Christian love.

Although God did not answer her prayers in the manner she desired, He gave her grace to submit entirely to His Divine Will and to carry her cross with heroic patience. Bertulph, in order to torment her still more and slowly to kill her, gave her a servant whom he had commanded to furnish for her sustenance daily, only a piece of bread and some water. The godless servant not only obeyed the cruel order but treated Godoliva with as much rudeness as if she had been his slave, instead of his mistress. Godrliva’s Christian virtue bore all this with indescribable patience. She never showed the least sign of indignation and no complaint of Bertulph’s inhuman command, nor the harsh treatment she received from the servant, ever passed her lips. She only uttered the praises of God, and thanked Him for giving her the opportunity to suffer.

When the profligate mother of Bertulph saw that neither hunger nor grief would, as she had hoped, end Godeliva’s life, she persuaded her son to get rid of her in some other way, as starvation was too slow. Bertulph would have been easily persuaded to follow this wicked advice, had not fear of Godeliva’s noble parents and relatives deterred him, at least for some time.

The innocent handmaid of the Lord perceived meanwhile, by the daily increasing torments, that she had nothing to expect but a violent death and, therefore, sought for an opportunity to escape. God gave her this opportunity and she, embracing it, fled, and after many hardships returned to her parents. The latter were inexpressibly griev,ed when she told them og her sufferings and being greatly indignant at the tyranny she had endured, they requested Baldwin, Count of Flanders and also the Bishop of Nimwegen, as their friend, to reproach Bertulph, seriously, with his impious conduct and command him, at the same time, to receive his wife again and in future to treat her in a different manner. Both took a deep interest in the matter and they supposed that their expostulation had impressed Bertulph, as he professed to them and to the parents of Godeliva, deep regret at his tyranny and promised on , not only to cease from maltreating her but to live with her in love and harmony. On this promise, she was commanded by her parent, to return with him to his home, which she did

No sooner, however, had she arrived there than she was more ill-treated than before. All her former miseries were redoubled and the hatred of Bertulph, now more deeply rooted, made itself more clearly manifest. Nothing was to be expected but the execution of the long nourished murderous design. The innocent Godeliva was ready for her last hour; for she was determined not to leave her husband again, even if it should cost her life. Everyday she prepared herself to die, commending her soul to the mercy of her Creator.

To some women, who came to comfort her in her misery, she said, with great cheerfulness; “You believe that I am an object of pity but I, although encompassed by sorrow, hope one day to be exalted and recompensed above all women in Flanders.” Thus she consoled herself with the contemplation of her reward in Heaven.

Into this she was soon to enter, for Bertulph was determined to do the worst. He hired two assassins to murder Godeliva. Not to be suspected of the bloody deed, he undertook a journey to Brussels, went to Godeliva and pretending to acknowledge and repent of his faults, he informed her that he was obliged to set out for Brussels but that, on his return, he would show greater love for her than she had ever expected from him. Upon this, the false spouse took leave, with the assurance that he would return in a few days. He really went away, believing that no-one would suppose him to be the instigator of the murder, which would take place during his absence.

Godeliva had no faith in his promises, his many other false demonstrations had made her suspicious. She had no doubt that her end was near. Soon after Bertulph’s departure, the two assassins entered Godeliva’s chamber at night, dragged her out of bed, put a rope around her neck, and strangled her in a most barbarous manner. After this, they placed the dead body again in the bed and covered it, thinking that no-one would discover how Godoliva had come by her death. When she was found on the following day, everyone believed that grief had put an end to her life.
God, however, so ordered, that Bertulph, in the course of time, confessed his crime and, to do penance, retired into a cloister.

How precious Godeliva’s death was in the sight of the Lord, was shown by the many miracles which were wrought at her tomb. History does not tell what became of the wicked mother of Bertulph but she doubtless went to eternal destruction, if she repented not, since, by destroying the harmony between her son and his wife, she had been the cause of so much unhappiness. And the same lot will befall all those, who, by slander, tale-bearing, or other wicked means, produce the same disunion.

Woe to such mischief-makers! How great will be their responsibility before the Judgment-seat of God! The Lord, according to Holy Writ, has the greatest detestation for those who stir up dissensions among brothers and still more, for those who disturb the peace of husband and wife because the quarrels of the latter, are generally of longer duration and their consequences are more disastrous.

The Life and Miracles of Saint Godelieve, last quarter of 15th century

The two left panels represent the Saint’s piety and charity during her life in Boulogne. In the centre, the first panel shows Bertolf’s courtship, the second their marriage and the third Godelieve’s ill treatment from her husband and mother-in-law. In the two right panels the servants first strangle her, then immerse her in water, then return the body to her bed.

Godelieve’s body was exhumed in 1084 by the Bishops of Tournai and Noyon, in the presence of Gertrude of Saxony, the wife of Robert I, Count of Flanders, the Abbot of St Winnoc’s and a number of clergymen. It was Radbod II, Bishop of Noyon-Tournai, that consecrated Godelieve’s relics in 1084 and Godelieve’s popular cult developed thereafter. Godelieve’s feast day, 6 July in Belgium, was, like that of Saint Swithun in England and Saint Medard in France, connected with the weather. She is thus considered one of the “Weather Saints.

Drogo, a Monk of St.Winnoc’s Abbey, wrote the Vita Godelieve, about ten years after her death. The Abbey of Ten Putte in Bruges, was dedicated to her. Every year, on the Sunday following 5 July, a procession celebrating Saint Godelieve takes place in Gistel.

Stained glass representations of Saint Godelieve and saint Idesbald.

Saint of the Day – 4 January – St Elizabeth Ann Seton (1774-1821)

Saint of the Day – 4 January – St Elizabeth Ann Seton (1774-1821) (also known as Mother Seton) Widow and Mother, Religious, Foundress, Teacher, first native-born citizen of the United States to be Canonised on 14 September 1975 by Pope Paul VI.   She was born on 28 August 1774 in New York City, New York, USA as Elizabeth Ann Bayley – 4 January 1821 in Emmitsburg, Maryland of natural causes.  Patronages – • against in-law problems• against the death of children• against the death of parents• Apostleship of the Sea (two of her sons worked on the sea)• opposition of Church authorities• people ridiculed for their piety• Shreveport, Louisiana, Diocese of• widows.   She established the first Catholic girls’ school in the nation in Emmitsburg, Maryland, where she also founded the first American congregation of religious sisters, the Sisters of Charity.

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Mother Seton is one of the keystones of the American Catholic Church.   She founded the first American religious community for women, the Sisters of Charity.   She opened the first American parish school and established the first American Catholic orphanage.   All this she did in the span of 46 years while raising her five children.

Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton is a true daughter of the American Revolution, born August 28, 1774, just two years before the Declaration of Independence.   By birth and marriage, she was linked to the first families of New York and enjoyed the fruits of high society. Reared a staunch Episcopalian, she learned the value of prayer, Scripture and a nightly examination of conscience.   Her father, Dr Richard Bayley, did not have much use for churches but was a great humanitarian, teaching his daughter to love and serve E A SETON 2

The early deaths of her mother in 1777 and her baby sister in 1778 gave Elizabeth a feel for eternity and the temporariness of the pilgrim life on earth  . Far from being brooding and sullen, she faced each new “holocaust,” as she put it, with hopeful cheerfulness.   At 19, Elizabeth was the belle of New York and married a handsome, wealthy businessman, William Magee Seton.   They had five children before his business failed and he died of tuberculosis.   At 30, Elizabeth was widowed, penniless, with five small children to support.

While in Italy with her dying husband, Elizabeth witnessed Catholicity in action through family friends.   Three basic points led her to become a Catholic:  belief in the Real Presence, devotion to the Blessed Mother and conviction that the Catholic Church led back to the apostles and to Christ.   Many of her family and friends rejected her when she became a Catholic in March 1805.

To support her children, she opened a school in Baltimore.   From the beginning, her group followed the lines of a religious community, which was officially founded in 1809.f607fe8df5569d4f21ff7e7d13d22852--elizabeth-ann-seton-patron-saints (1)4c81c022a8d462572b891dd436c9aea9--elizabeth-ann-seton-catholic-saints

The thousand or more letters of Mother Seton reveal the development of her spiritual life from ordinary goodness to heroic sanctity.   She suffered great trials of sickness, misunderstanding, the death of loved ones (her husband and two young daughters) and the heartache of a wayward son.   She died 4 January 1821 and became the first American-born citizen to be beatified (1963) and then canonised (1975).   She is buried in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

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Saint of the Day – 16 December – St Adelaide of Italy/Burgundy (c 931-999)

Saint of the Day – 16 December – St Adelaide of Italy/Burgundy – Holy Roman Empress, widow, Foundress of monasteries and Apostle of Charity (c 931-999) (c 931 at Burgundy, France – 999 at the monastery of Selta (Seltz), Alsace of natural causes).   Patronages – • abuse victims• against in-law problems• brides• empresses• exiles• parenthood• parents of large families• princesses• prisoners• second marriages• step-parents• widows.   Attributes – • empress dispensing alms and food to the poor, often beside a ship• escaping from prison in a boat• holding a church• veil.   St Adelaide was a Holy Roman Empress by marriage to Holy Roman Emperor Otto the Great; she was crowned as the Holy Roman Empress with him by Pope John XII in Rome on 2 February 962. She was regent of the Holy Roman Empire as the guardian of her grandson in 991-995.

St Adelaide was possibly the most prominent European woman of the tenth century through her second marriage to Otto the Great of Germany, the Holy Roman Emperor, Adelaide was regent for some time and later became the foundress of many monasteries of monks and nuns.Santa Adelaide, estátua em Seltz, Alsacia

The daughter of Rudulph II of Upper Burgundy, Adelaide was married at the age of sixteen to Lothair, who was then king of Italy.   A daughter, Emma, was born of this marriage.   Lothair was probably poisoned by his successor to the throne, Berengar.   As part of Berengar’s attempt to keep his grip on power, he ordered Adelaide to marry his son;  she refused, and he imprisoned her in a castle.  But soon after the German king, Otto the Great, defeated Berengar and freed Adelaide and proposed marriage, which she accepted.     On Christmas Day 951 she married Otto at Pavia.   The marriage consolidated his authority in northern Italy and in 962 they were crowned emperor and empress by Pope John XII in Rome.   Otto died in 973 and for twenty years Adelaide’s life was a turmoil of family and political troubles.   Her daughter-in-law, the Byzantine princess Theophano turned her son Otto II against her.   Adelaide had to leave the court and live for a time with her brother in Burgundy.   A reconciliation was effected and in 983 just before he died Otto appointed her his viceroy in Italy.

Otto II died the same year and the new emperor, her grandson Otto III, still a minor, was entrusted to the joint regency of his mother and grandmother.   Theophano was able once again to oust Adelaide from power and the court.   When Theophano died in 991 the regency reverted to Adelaide alone.   The bishop of Mainz, St. Willigis, came to her aid.

After Otto came of age in 995, Adelaide was able to devote herself to works of generosity to the poor, to help in evangelising the Slavs and in founding and restoring monasteries and convents.   She was especially friendly with the monastery of Cluny, then the centre of a movement for reform and with its abbots St Majolus and St Odilo.   The latter wrote a memoir of her, calling her ‘a marvel of beauty and goodness’.   When Otto III was old enough, Adelaide retired to the convent of Seltz near Cologne, a house she had built.   She never became a nun but she spent the rest of her days there in prayer.   Her feast is kept especially in many German dioceses.


Saint of the Day – 12 August – St Jane Frances de Chantal VHM (1572-1641)

Saint of the Day – 12 August – St Jane Frances de Chantal VHM (1572-1641) – Mother, Widow, Foundress – born on 28 January 1572 at Dijon, Burgundy, France and died on  13 December 1641 at the Visitationist Convent, Moulins, France of natural causes.   Her relic sreside  at Annecy, Savoy    She was Beatified on 21 November 1751 by Pope Benedict XIV and Canonised on 16 July 1767 by Pope Clement XIII.   Patronages – against in-law problems, against the death of parents, forgotten people, parents separated from children, widows.


Jane Frances de Chantal was born in Dijon, France, on 28 January 1572, the daughter of the royalist president of the Parliament of Burgundy.   Her mother died when Jane was 18 months old.   Her father became the main influence on her education.   She developed into a woman of beauty and refinement, lively and cheerful in temperament.   She married the Baron de Chantal when she was 21 and then lived in the feudal castle of Bourbilly.   Baron de Chantal was accidentally killed by an arquebus while out shooting in 1601.   Left a widow at 28, with four children, the broken-hearted baroness took a vow of chastity.   Her mother, step mother, sister, first two children and now her husband had died.   Chantal gained a reputation as an excellent manager of the estates of her husband, as well as of her difficult father-in-law, while also providing alms and nursing care to needy neighbours.

During Lent in 1604, the pious baroness met Saint Francis de Sales, the bishop of Geneva who was preaching at the Sainte Chapelle in Dijon.   They became close friends and de Sales became her spiritual director.   She wanted to become a nun but he persuaded her to defer this decision.   Later, with his support, and that of her father and brother (the Archbishop of Bourges) and, after providing for her children, Chantal left for Annecy, to start the Congregation of the Visitation.   The Congregation of the Visitation was canonically established at Annecy on Trinity Sunday, 6 June 1610.   The order accepted women who were rejected by other orders because of poor health or age.   During its first eight years, the new order also was unusual in its public outreach, in contrast to most female religious who remained cloistered and adopted strict ascetic practices.   The usual opposition to women in active ministry arose and Francis de Sales was obliged to make it a cloistered community following the Rule of St Augustine.   When people criticised her for accepting women of poor health and old age, Chantal famously said, “What do you want me to do?   I like sick people myself, I’m on their side.”st jane frances de chantal


Her reputation for sanctity and sound management resulted in many visits by (and donations from) aristocratic women.   The order had 13 houses by the time de Sales died, and 86 before Chantal herself died at the Visitation Convent in Moulins, aged 69.   St. Vincent de Paul served as her spiritual director after de Sales’ death.   Her favourite devotions involved the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Heart of Mary.   Chantal was buried in the Annecy convent next to de Sales.   The order had 164 houses by 1767, when she was canonised.   Chantal outlived her son (who died fighting Huguenots and English on the Île de Ré during the century’s religious wars) and two of her three daughters but left extensive correspondence.   Her granddaughter also became a famous writer, Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, marquise de Sévigné.