Saint Frances of Rome

This weeks Saint of the Week is Saint Frances of Rome.  Born in Italy in the very turbulent late 14th century, with the Church warring over Popes and anti-Popes, Saint Frances felt an early call to the religious life, but ended up in an arranged marriage at the age of 13.  The marriage, to a prominent military officer proved a happy one, lasting forty years and yielding 3 children, but the demands of his career kept him away from home most of the time. The call of the Lord never left Saint Frances, who had much empathy for the poor and suffering in a war torn Rome, so devastated that wild wolves were said to have been roaming the streets.

When plague broke out, Saint Frances, and her sister Saint Vannozza, who both lost children to the disease, tended to the afflicted in the streets and encouraged other women to do the same.  Saint Frances experienced mystical visions and even saw her Guardian Angel. 

In 1425 Saint Frances turned part of her family estate into a hospital called the Olivetan Oblates of Mary, where she and other lay women she inspired tended to the sick and infirm.  Originally an order of lay women, she ultimately built a convent and established a religious order called the Oblates of Saint Frances of Rome. Saint Frances lived with her husband until his death, then lived as the group’s superior until her death in 1440. In the wake of the Corona virus hysteria, Saint Frances’ legacy is an example for how all of us should respond during times of crisis.

Feast Day:  March 9

Patron Saint of: Widows and motorists.

Merciful Father, in Saint Frances of Rome you have given us a unique example of love in marriage as well as in religious life. Keep us faithful in your service, and help us to see and follow you in all the aspects of life. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Saint Frances of Rome, pray for us!

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