Franciscan Saints


The Servant of God Jane of Saint Erasmus

Widow, Second Order


Today’s entry in the The Franciscan book of Saints
– Marion H Habig OFM is far too lengthy to summarise easily:

As in many other lives we read of a woman, the epitome of all that is righteous and holy, whose marriage was difficult and loveless and whose husband was given to gambling and quarrelling, even duelling

Fulfilling her role as wife and housewife, (her only child, a daughter, died while still a young child) and as mediator for her husband she endeavoured to convert him to better ways.

Again, as other Godly women of her ilk she spent much time in prayer…

She was to be host to her husband’s friends and mother to the poor and sick and in doing this proved such an example to her husband that he converted to better ways – Habig says “ a believer at heart, as he had always been, he resolved to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land; he returned from there a pious Christian”.

Ironically, while her husband was absent Jane experienced a mighty impulse to enter a convent, when he returned she asked him leave to enter a convent and he refused because he now loved her and valued her as wife. While previously she had desired him to love her and now he does love her she wants to go off to a nunnery.

 The archbishop of Cambrai supported her petition and eventually her husband came around to make the sacrifice to God and to allow her to enter a convent.

“He himself accompanied his wife to the convent of Philippevelle, where the Rule of St. Clare was observed in its primitive rigor.”

Her name in Religion was Jane of St. Erasmus – her husband’s name out of her gratitude to him She pledged to him the best of her merits and once his death was near, offered to suffer his purgatory.

At fifty-five years of age Jane happily observed the strictest practices of the novices and regarded herself as the lowliest one of all.

During the nineteen years remaining to her Jane was a model to every one of her sisters; her extraordinary graces from God were confirmed when she was seen in ecstasy and raised above the ground.

At the very sight of the image of our Lord scourged at the pillar Jane would break out with tears in compassion for her Lord.

Forbidden from gazing upon it by her superiors, Jane never looked toward it again – esteeming obedience more than any sentiment of devotion.

During her last days her entire body racked by long and painful suffering; a glance at the image of the crucified Christ gave her the dearest comfort and upon her dying lips she was heard to say: “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews! May this victorious title protect us and preserve us from all evil.”

Jane died whilst making the sign of the Cross as she said it.

Prayer of the Church

Lord Jesus Christ, who in the Garden of Olives hast taught us by word and example

to pray in order that we may overcome the dangers of temptation, grant us the grace

always to be devoted to prayer and merit to obtain its abundant fruits;

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Spirit,
One God, for ever and ever. Amen



Habig, Marion A., O.F.M., 1959, ed., The Franciscan book of Saints, Franciscan Herald Press, Chicago, Illinois

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