St. Jane of Valois
Today the Church commemorates St. Jane of Valois, 1464 – 1505. The second daughter of Louis X1, King of France, and Charlotte of Savoy, she was born on April 23, 1464. Jane’s father hated her from birth, partly because of her sex and partly because she was sickly and deformed. At the age of five, she was sent away to be brought up by guardians in a lonely country home, deprived of common comforts and sometimes even necessities. The neglected child offered her whole heart to God, and yearned to do some special service in honor of His blessed Mother. She developed a deep devotion to Our Lady, praying the Angelus daily.
At the age of two months Jane was betrothed to Louis, Duke of Orleans, and the marriage took place when she was just nine years old.
After her marriage, the princess suffered even more than before. The duke hated the fact that she was imposed on him in the marriage, and even publicly insulted and humiliated her. In spite of this, Jane loved him and remained a devoted and loyal wife for twenty-two years. When her husband ascended the throne as Louis XII., his first act was to obtain a declaration that the marriage was invalid. If so it is to be, praised be the Lord, was her remark on this occasion. With humility, in imitation of Our Lady, she accepted the will of God.
In 1500, along with her Franciscan director, Gilbert Nicolas, Jane founded the Order of the Annunciation, a community whose chief rule was to imitate the virtues of Mary, as shown in the Gospels. Jane died in heroic sanctity at the age of 41 on n February 4, 1505, and was buried in the royal crown and purple, beneath which lay the habit of her Order. She was canonized in 1950 by Pope Pius XII. Many miracles, particularly of healing, followed her death.