QUAERITUR: When is the feast of St. Jane Frances de Chantal?

The following is a piece from the May-June Newsletter of the USCCB’s Committee on Divine Worship.

It concerns the shifting date of the feast of St. Jane Frances de Chantal. 

People who are interesting in the TLM, the Extraordinary Use of the Roman Rite will find this interesting.  It mentions Summorum Pontificum.

My emphases and comments.

Memorial of Saint Jane Frances de Chantal: Which Date is Correct?

Over the past several years, there has been much confusion regarding the celebration of the memorial of Saint Jane Frances de Chantal. The Secretariat of Divine Worship has carefully researched this issue, and now hopes to resolve the confusion. The timeline of her shifting feast day is presented below:

1769-1969 – August 21

Sister Jane Frances de Chantal, co-founder of the religious Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary (commonly known today as the Visitation Sisters), died on December 13, 1641. [Very often the feast of a saint is fixed on the day the saint died, that is, their birth into heaven.  Sometimes it is fixed to the date the saints relics are "translated" from one place to another.  At times, the day used has to do with some other event.] Two years after her canonization by Pope Clement XIII in July 1767, St. Jane Frances’ feast day was fixed on August 21, and remained so until after the Second Vatican Council. (As a result of the Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum of Pope Benedict XVI, this date is still observed as her class III feast in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.)

1970-1988 – December 12

In the 1969 reform of the liturgical calendar, her feast day was made an optional memorial and set on December 12. [tinker tinker] December 13, the date St. Jane Frances died, was already occupied with the memorial of St. Lucy.) In November 1971, however, the Bishops of the United States, wishing to honor the role Our Lady of Guadalupe has played in the Americas, decided to insert Our Lady’s memorial – also on December 12 – into the proper calendar for the dioceses of the United States of America. That decision was confirmed by the Congregation for Divine Worship on December 28, 1971 (Prot. n. 2153/71).

Thus in the United States, St. Jane Frances’ optional memorial was impeded for 17 years by the obligatory memorial of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Our Lady’s memorial was later raised to a feast in the United States by its Bishops in November 1987 (a Marian Year) and confirmed by the Congregation for Divine Worship on January 8, 1988 (Prot. n. 1341/87).

1989-2001 – August 18

To allow St. Jane Frances’ feast to be celebrated, the Bishops of the United States voted in November 1988 to petition the Holy See to transfer the optional memorial of St. Jane Frances from December 12 to August 18 [! Not August 21.] in the United States – the date recommended by the Visitation Sisters. The request was granted by the Congregation for Divine Worship on January 20, 1989 (Prot. N. 1609/88).

2002-present – August 12

Finally, [whew!] on December 18, 2001, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments decreed that, because her memorial was continually being impeded by the celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the optional memorial of St. Jane Frances was transferred in the universal calendar to August 12. This decree (Prot. n. 2492/01/L) has superseded the 1988 request of the U.S. Bishops. Therefore, [the bottom line is….] in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, the optional memorial of St. Jane Frances de Chantal is August 12; on the Extraordinary Form calendar, her class III feast is celebrated August 21.

When tinkeritis sets in, you never know what is going to happen.

But, it remained the same date for the TLM since 1767.

In the 2004 Martyrologium Romanum St. Jane has two entries!  12 August for the memorial and 13 December for her death.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Ken says:

    It is almost kind of fun to watch the novus ordo scramble like this as the TLM calendar remains as it was. Aren’t they environmentalists? Surely these changes consume lots of trees for reprintings.

    One thing newcomers to the traditional Mass, sacraments, discipline and calendar always remark about is how freshing it is to not have to constantly run around figuring out what was changed since last year.

    Given the lack of reason in this example, it is clear which calendar should serve as the foundation if we are ever to restore tradition for the universal Church.

  2. Ann says:

    All these changes make my head spin!

    All I want is ONE consistent list that we all follow. All these changes and transfers are just confusing and make it far more likely that the laity will simply ignore all of them.

  3. Mitch_WA says:

    agghh! Thank goodness things like Christmas are so fixed in tradition or it would be played with too by waring silliogians who insist on spring christmas…

  4. Tim Ferguson says:

    What is gratifying to see in this all is the relative ease with which the USCCB mentions the Extraordinary Form. In the past, it would have hardly been mentioned at all, now even the USCCB is recognizing that it’s not just some fringe element of the Church’s life.

  5. Sam Schmitt says:

    I’m still confused – is it August 12 or August 21?

  6. Cel says:

    Well, that was confusing. It seemed not unlike going to or calling a gov’t office trying to get some information on a form or such. I imagine St. Jane Frances probably prefers the extraordinary form for no other reason than it less confusing regarding her own feast.

  7. Michael J says:

    At the time, the calendar changes probably seemed reasonable enough. Still, this should give pause to all those who advocate for the unification of the OF and EF calendars. Adding “new” Saints to the EF calendar can be done easily enough, I suppose, but unifying the calendars is quite another matter with little or no benefit

  8. Rev. Thomas Extejt says:

    Hasn’t the feast of Sts. Philip and James moved around a lot too? It seems to me that I remember it on May 1, May 3 and May 11.

  9. brendon says:

    Would unification of the calendars really be that difficult? Once the saints who have been canonized since the change of calendars have been added to the EF calendar, just pick a beginning of the liturgical year (say, Advent 2015) and move everyone to the EF calendar. It seems to me that this could even be done while keeping the simplified ranking of the OF calendar for use with the OF.

    So, for example, St. Jane would be celebrated on August 21 in both forms of the Roman rite. In the EF she would be celebrated as a class III feast. In the OF she would be celebrated as an optional memorial.

    Is there any reason why this wouldn’t work?

  10. brendon says:

    One issue with my solution would be the fact that the OF has “Ordinary Time” rather than “Time After Epiphany” and “Time After Pentecost.” I admit that I was assuming that “Time After Epiphany” and “Time After Pentecost” would be restored and replace “Ordinary Time,” since in my limited experience they are obviously the superior solution. I suppose this would require a modification of the OF lectionary as well, so lets push the calendar unification back to 2025.

    Hopefully this will also provide enough time to give the OF a lectionary with a single unified cycle. And if we base this lectionary off of the EF lectionary, that will solve any problems that would appear if a priest used the OF lectionary with the EF (see Fr. Z’s latest post). Then, if this lectionary becomes viewed as acceptable for use with the EF, and if the use of the vernacular was approved in the EF for the propers only, the current OF could be entirely eliminated. Which, in the eyes of this OF attending Catholic, would not be a bad thing.

  11. gilad says:

    It would serve the Tridentine Community to be able to keep the old Calendar and it’s practice! We should adhere to keeping all Holy days, after all we are more likely to go to Mass during the week, anyway! If we put money into the basket of these parishes that change off with the ordinary rite, we should be able to use that church for Holy days according to the old calendar! It’s not like they use some of our collections every sunday for an increase in vocations to Traditional Monastic orders, for our young boys and girls! Pax Christi!

  12. Michael J says:


    I do not disagree, but what you are advocating is not the unification of two calendars, but the elimination of one altogether. Again, I wholeheartedly agree.

    Interestingly, when many others speak of “unification”, they mean the same thing but are in favor of the elimination of the EF calendar and replacement with the OF.

  13. Pat says:

    “Hopefully this will also provide enough time to give the OF a lectionary with a single unified cycle. And if we base this lectionary off of the EF lectionary, that will solve any problems that would appear if a priest used the OF lectionary with the EF (see Fr. Z’s latest post).”

    Which post? Brendon

  14. Pat says:

    found it.

  15. Bookworm says:

    As long as new saints continue to be canonized and added to the Church calendar some “tinkering” with feast days will be inevitable. Does the EF calendar at this time even include the “newer” saints such as Padre Pio and St. Faustina?

Comments are closed.