Saturday, August 14, 2010

St. Jane Frances de Chantal (Jan. 28, 1572 to Dec. 13, 1641)

I often wonder what it's like to die alone. Maybe a person has no family to speak of and lives in a nursing home or by themselves. Are they frightened or do they want to spend their final moments with someone?
My paternal grandfather's last home was at an assisted living facility in Greenville. His three younger sisters also lived there, in separate apartments. I enjoyed spending time with them, when I was a kid, which was almost every weekend.
We'd played bingo and cards, and have snacks. I don't remember seeing any residents alone. Everyone always had visitors.
When it was time to leave, my grandfather would go out on his deck and he'd wait there until I got in the car with my dad and then we'd wave goodbye to each other.
As I was riding my bicycle today, I wondered where I might be in 35 or 40 years, if I'm still alive. And then I thought about what it would be like to die alone.
When I reached the usual spot on the road where I have to climb a very steep incline, I told myself that I could do it with no difficulty (the past several times it was a struggle because I have a single-speed bike). At that moment, I looked up and saw a red-tailed hawk flying right above me.
It followed overhead until I made it easily to Gravelly Hill Road, which is where the road levels out, and then the bird flew away as I continued on.
When I got home, I looked in my animal guide and read that the hawk represents guiding vision. It said to be patient and observant because I will see opportunities and clear signs.
And it is true. After all these years, I came to the realization that no one dies alone. Jesus will always be there for those who believe.
St. Jane Frances de Chantal is the patron saint of forgotten people. She was born in Dijon, Burgundy, France on Jan. 28, 1572. She had six children and was widowed at age 28.
St. Jane Frances de Chantal was the founder of the Order of the Visitation of Mary. She died in Moulins on Dec. 13, 1641. Canonized: 1767. Her feast day is Aug. 12.

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