The Carmelite Review – A Blessed Carmelite Nun

photograph of a stained glass window of Beata François d'Amboise, 1878, artist unknown, Cathedral of Saint Peter, Morbihan, France; taken on 28 December 2012 by Fab5669; swiped off WikipediaBlessed Frances of Amboise was born in 1427. That it is already a great step on the way to holiness and Christian perfection, to be born of pious and God-fearing parents, can only be doubted by such as do not recognise the strong bonds of nature and the powerful attraction of good example. At the same time it cannot be denied this is of itself only a powerful aid to sanctity, and that only by making diligent use of this means can we arrive at holiness and salvation. We find both blended in our Blessed Frances.

The names of her pious parents are Louis of Amboise, viscount of Thouars, and Mary of Rieux, of ancient Boeton descent. When quite a young child Francis was sent to the court of John V, Duke of Bretagne. Here, under the guardianship of the pious Duchess, she made such rapid progress in piety and learning that at the age of five years she was judged worthy to be admitted to receive Holy Communion.

When fifteen years old she was espoused to Peter, second eldest son of the reigning Duke. In the course of a few years, she with her husband was called to wear the ducal coronet, and as before and during the years of her married life, so now, when at the height of earthly glory, she was a model Christian. Far from allowing her elevated station to interfere with her in the discharge of her duties, she rather made it subservient to that end. Great was her love for the poor and afflicted, and so well did she succeed in gaining the affections of her people, that she was only spoken of as “Our Mother.” As we read of Saint Cunigunda and of others, so it is equally said of her, that she preserved her virginity intact in the married state. Upon the early death of her husband, after many harassing endeavors on the part of her nearest relatives to enduce her to enter wedlock again, at the age of 40 years, she entered the convent of the Carmelite nuns, whom she herself had been instrumental in introducing into the Bretagne. It was blessed Saint John Soreth, at the time Prior General of the Order, who admitted her to the habit. As was lo be expected of her, after having made such rapid strides in perfection even in the midst of the world, her progress was much more rapid now, that she was free from all care save that of her soul. She ascended from virtue to virtue. Her charity and humility were particularly noteworthy, though first she looked upon herself as the handmaid of her sisters.

She died in the odor of sanctity in the convent at Nantes, November 4th, 1485. At once her tomb became a place of pilgrimage, where all who labored under bodily or spiritual ailments, were sure to find help and cure.

Pope Pius the IX, of blessed memory, approved of this ancient veneration, and graciously permitted the celebration of her feast together with office and mass. Blessed Frances lived from 1427 to 1485

– text taken from the article “A Blessed Carmelite Nun” in the October 1893 edition of The Carmelite Review magazine, authored by Father A.B.