St Jane Frances de Chantal

I went to mass in the local Augustinian hostel. A delightful small mass, very simple and, in its way, spiritual. The chapel is a modern one; the clear windows looking out over the Mont Blanc range.

This week is the feast day of St Jean Frances de Chantal (1572-1641), a mother of six children. When her husband died, she became a disciple of St Francis de Sales and founded the Order of the Visitation.

Strange to be sitting here in places where she must have walked and ridden, looking at the same countryside that she and Francis looked upon.

In today’s Gospel, we are told “Unless you change and become little children you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 18). But what does that mean? A charming thought at first. It’s true that little children are spontaneous but they can also be, well, shall we say very difficult and self-absorbed too. But it is an honest self-absorption, a living in the present, an absence of regret for the past or ambition for the future.