Three times a year, women in the archdiocese come together in faith for one purpose: to pray for young men to answer the call to priesthood.
They are members of the de Chantal Society, about 60 women who attend a nighttime gathering while another
|The next meetings of the de Chantal Society will be Wednesday, Nov. 19, 7 to 9 p.m., and Thursday, Nov. 20, 9 to 11 a.m. at Saint Francis de Sales Seminary, 3257 South Lake Drive, St. Francis. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (414) 747-6400.
For more information on the de Chantal Society, visit
60 women attend a morning gathering inside the Christ King Chapel at Saint Francis de Sales Seminary. The two identical sessions are an attempt to accommodate women’s schedules.
The de Chantal Society was jointly formed by the Nazareth Project for Marriage and Family Formation and the seminary. Lydia LoCoco, former director of the Nazareth Project, explained, “de Chantal Society has no volunteer requirements or any other obligations other than prayer. The absolute reason for its existence is to pray for vocations and support women’s faith lives.”
Liz Pesci has attended many of the de Chantal Society gatherings since its inception in 2011.
“All that is asked is to pray for our priests, our seminarians and those who God may be calling to the priesthood,” she explained. “Believe me, once you have experienced the Holy Hour with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, Benediction and a presentation focusing on a female saint, all you want to do is pray for these intentions.
Through this gesture, the archdiocese, and Bishop (Donald J.) Hying, in particular, validate one very important role of the women in the church – prayer, encouragement and love.”
The de Chantal Society is named after St. Jane de Chantal who was born in 1572 in Dijon, France. Following the death of her husband and after her children were raised, she became a follower of St. Francis de Sales. She founded the Congregation of the Visitation. By the time she died in 1641, she had established 86 Visitation convents.
In February, Bishop Hying led members in meditation and prayer. The gathering included eucharistic adoration and Benediction. Bishop Hying told the group, “The most important part of the day has already taken place – moments of silent prayer with Jesus. This is the essence.”
He also spoke to them about the life of St. Catherine of Siena, beginning with a quote from this doctor of the church: “Be how God meant you to be, and you will set the world on fire.”
Catherine was a strong-willed woman who refused to live her life by the boundaries that others dictated.
“She believed that our status in life does not come from our job, class, position or possessions, but our holiness,” said Bishop Hying.
At age 21, St. Catherine entered a mystical marriage with Jesus where she “saw” a ring on her finger for the rest of her life. She devoted her life to the service of others and writing to heads of state and the pope.
“Compared to Catherine, I am still in the kindergarten of faith,” said Bishop Hying.
St. Bernadette, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and St. Joan of Arc are among other saints who have been featured.
In addition to their three gatherings a year, the de Chantal Society offers an annual retreat at the Redemptorist Retreat Center in Oconomowoc under the direction of Bishop Hying.