A Catholic Monthly Magazine

February Saints

Jane of ValoisSaint Jane of  Valois (1464-1505)

Born of the royal blood of France, Jane of Valois led a life remarkable for its humiliations. Banished from the palace because she was a girl, Jane offered her whole heart to God at the age of five. As a young woman, she was forced to marry the Duke of Orleans, an indifferent and unworthy husband. She remained patient, dutiful and devoted to the service of God. When her husband ascended the throne as Louis XII, he repudiated her and cast her off.

Free at last to follow her desire to honour the Mother of God, she founded the Order of the Annunciation, whose chief aim was to imitate the ten virtues practised by our Lady in the mystery of the Incarnation. Having built and endowed the first convent of the Order in 1502, the saintly queen died in 1505 and was buried in the royal crown and purple, beneath which she wore the habit of her Order.

 (Source: www.magnificat.ca/cal/engl/02-04.htm#valois)


Blessed Josephine VanniniBlessed Josephine Vannini (1859-1911)

Josephine Vannini was born in Rome, Italy, in 1859, one of three children of Angelo and Annunziata Papi Vannini. The family, devout and happy, faced tragedy between 1863 and 1866 when both parents died. The children were separated, and Josephine was given to the care of the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul. Inspired by these religious, Josephine wanted to enter the convent, a desire she maintained steadfastly even when reunited with her brother and sister in 1880.

Josephine duly entered the Daughters of Charity, but became ill and spent time in another convent recuperating. While on retreat in 1891 she met Father Luigi Tezza, procurator general of the Camillians. For some time he had been thinking of founding a women’s community which would be consecrated to God for the care of the sick. Moved by divine grace, he invited her to join him in establishing this new community. Josephine thought about it, prayed and sought advice. Then, in characteristic fashion, she gave him a decisive “Yes”.

In 1892 Josephine and two companions received the scapular of Camillian tertiaries. One year later they professed private vows, adding a fourth vow of service to the sick, even at the risk of their own lives. They made their perpetual profession as Daughters of St Camillus in 1895 and Josephine was elected Superior General.

The year 1900 saw Father Tezza sent to Lima, so responsibility for the new congregation rested in the hands of Mother Vannini, who was never one to shirk such a task. Her life thereafter was summed up by Pope John Paul II: “To serve the suffering; this was her special charism. To belong totally to God who is loved and honoured in the needy, was her constant concern, expressed in a daily, boundless charity towards the infirm, in the footsteps of the great apostle, St Camillus de Lellis.”

Under Josephine’s guidance, the Daughters of St Camillus opened houses in Italy, France, Belgium and Argentina. She died in 1911 in Rome.

How contemporary are her witness and message! Mother Vannini makes a strong appeal to today’s young men and women who sometimes hesitate to make total and definitive commitments. She invites all who are called to the consecrated life to respond generously, as she does all who fulfil their vocation in family life: God has a plan of holiness for everyone.”

(Source: John Paul II’s book of saints. Matthew, Margaret & Stephen Bunson. Our Sunday Visitor, Huntington, Indiana. 1999)

The Seven Holy Servite Founders (13th Century)Seven Holy Servite Founders

Between 1225 and 1227, seven young Florentines joined the Confraternity of Our Lady. Together they had a vision of Our Lady, as the result of which they withdrew from secular life and formed a community on the deserted slopes of Monte Senario.

This was the beginning of the order of Servants of Mary or Servite Friars. Three of the original seven, Saints Bonfilus, Bunogiunta and Manettus, followed each other as superior of the Order; two, Saints Hugh and Sostenes, spread the order in France and Germany. Only Saint Alexis, a lay brother, lived to see the order fully recognised by the Church.

Holy Servites, obtain for us a great devotion to Our Lady.

(Source: A new dictionary of saints. Comp. by  Donald Attwater. Burns & Oates, Kent 1993)

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