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ST. JANE, JOAN, OR JOANNA OF VALOIS QUEEN OF FRANCE

SHE was daughter of king Louis XI. and Chariotte of Savoy, born in 1464. Her low stature and deformed body rendered her the object of her father’s aversion, who, notwithstanding married her to Louis duke of Orleans, his cousin-german, in 1476. She obtained his life of her brother, Charles VIII., who had resolved to put him to death for rebellion. Yet nothing could conquer his antipathy against her, from which she suffered every thing with patience, making exercises of piety her chief occupation and comfort. Her husband coming to the crown of France in 1498, under the name of Louis XII., having in view an advantageous match with Anne, the heiress of Brittany, and the late king’s widow, alleging also the nullity of his marriage with Jane, chiefly on account of his being forced to it by Louis XI., applied to pope Alexander VI. for commissaries to examine the matter according to law. These having taken cognizance of the affair, declared the marriage void; nor did Jane make any opposition to the divorce, but rejoiced to see herself at liberty, and in a condition to serve God in a state of greater perfection, and attended with fewer impediments in his service. She therefore meekly acquiesced in the sentence, and the king, pleased at her submission, gave her the duchy of Berry, besides Pontoise and other townships. She resided at Bourges, wore only sackcloth, and addicted herself entirely to the exercises of mortification and prayer, and to works of charity, in which she employed all her great revenues. By the assistance of her confessarius, a virtuous Franciscan friar, called Gabriel Maria, as he always signed his name, she instituted, in 1500, the Order of nuns of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin.* It was approved by Julius II., Leo X., Paul V., and Gregory XV. The nuns wear a black veil, a white cloak, a red scapular, and a brown habit with a cross, and a cord for a girdle. The superioress is only called Ancelle, or servant, for humility. St. Jane took the habit herself in 1504, but died on the 4th of February, 1505. The Huguenots burned her remains at Bourges, in 1562.1 She was canonized by Clement XII. in 1738, but had been venerated at Bourges from the time of her death. See the brief of Benedict XIV., concerning her immemorial veneration, t. 2, de Canoniz.1. 2, c. 24, p. 296. Bullarii, t. 16, p. 104, and Hclyot, Hist. des Ord. Rel. t. 7, p. 339. Also, Henschenius, p. 575. Chatelain’s Notes on the Mart. Her life, compiled by Andrew Fremiot, archbishop of Bourges; by Hilarion de Coste, of the Order of Minims, among his illustrious ladies; another printed by the order of Doni d’Attichi, bishop of Autun, in 1656, (who had from his youth professed the same Order of the Minims, of which he wrote the Annals, and a History of the French Cardinals.) See also, on St. Jane, Godeau, Eloges des Princesses, &c.








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