St. Jane de Chantal, founder and first Mother Superior, is honoured by the Church for the holiness of her youth, her married life, of her widowhood and her life in religion. She was born in Dijon, France in 1572 and happily married to Baron de Chantal in 1592. They had four children. Eleven years later her husband was killed in a shooting accident, leaving her a widow at twenty eight years of age.
In 1604 when attending a series of Lenten sermons, she met St. Francis de Sales who was to become her spiritual director. Six years later, when the future of her children had been secured, she and three other women came together in Annecy. They began a new way of life as Sisters of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, under the guidance of St. Francis de Sales, then Bishop of Geneva.