Yesterday was the feast of St. Jane de Chantal . In the April 2008 issue of the St. Anthony Messenger there was an article titled "Jane de Chantal: A Saint for the Depressed." It made some wonderful points about how Jane de Chantal had a loving, successful life even in the midst of chronic depression.
The death of her husband, some her children and other family members, plus later on the trials of starting a new religious order were factors that kept the depression coming back. But she never gave into despair.
According to the articles there are some things that she did that kept her fighting against depression and helped her to be a Holy, successful, and life-filled person.
1. Trust in God. Jane placed above everything her love of God. She knew that God is a loving God and he would save her from pain or give her the strenght to bear it. She chose to trust Him. She expressed this through her life of intimate prayer and service to God.
2. Holy Friends. Jane knew she didn't have to walk that path alone. She had wonderful holy friends with which she could share her struggles. The main one was her spiritual director and friend St. Francis de Sales.
3. Service to Others. Service opens the heart to others, giving to others makes us realize that we have something to offer even if it is just a smile, a kind word, a simple gesture. Jane gave her life in service to others and in that she found meaning and relief. She was able to forget herself and serve others even when she was in profound pain.
May St. Jane de Chantal pray for us for the strenght to bear our crosses joyfully!