St. Frances of Rome
Widow, Third Order
�She is honoured as the principal patron of all Benedictine oblates, but she is also one of the greatest saints who wore the habit of the Third Order of St. Francis.� (Biersack, 1943 in Habig 1959, p 715) 1
canonization was preceded by three processes
(1440, 1443, 1451) and Paul V declared her a
saint on 9 May, 1608, assigning 9 March as her
feast day. Long before that, however, the
faithful were wont to venerate her body in the
church of Santa Maria Nuova in the Roman Forum,
now known as the church of Santa Francesca
Frances's life combines aspects of secular and religious life. A devoted and loving wife, she longed for a lifestyle of prayer and service, so she organized a group of women to minister to the needs of Rome's poor.
Born of wealthy parents, Frances found herself attracted to the religious life during her youth. But her parents objected and a young nobleman was selected to be her husband.
As she became acquainted with her new relatives, Frances soon discovered that the wife of her husband�s brother also wished to live a life of service and prayer. So the two, Frances and Vannozza, set out together�with their husbands� blessings�to help the poor.
Frances fell ill for a time, but this apparently only deepened her commitment to the suffering people she met. The years passed, and Frances gave birth to two sons and a daughter. With the new responsibilities of family life, the young mother turned her attention more to the needs of her own household.
The family flourished under Frances�s care, but within a few years a great plague began to sweep across Italy. It struck Rome with devastating cruelty and left Frances�s second son dead. In an effort to help alleviate some of the suffering, Frances used all her money and sold her possessions to buy whatever the sick might possibly need. When all the resources had been exhausted, Frances and Vannozza went door to door begging. Later, Frances�s daughter died, and the saint opened a section of her house as a hospital.
Frances became more and more convinced that this
way of life was so necessary for the world, and
it was not long before she requested and was
given permission to found a society of women
bound by no vows. They simply offered themselves
to God and to the service of the poor. Once the
society was established, Frances chose not to
live at the community residence, but rather at
home with her husband. She did this for seven
years, until her husband passed away, and then
came to live the remainder of her life with the
society�serving the poorest of the poor. 3
Prayer of the church
O Lord, who didst honour Thy servant Frances with the
friendly companionship of an angel, among other gifts, grant, we
beseech Thee, that by the aid of her intercession we may deserve
to be admitted to the company of the angels.
Through the same Christ Our Lord Who liveth �and reigneth
and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen
1. Biersack, Louis Fr., 1943,The saints and Blessed of the Third order of Saint Francis, Saint Anthony guild Press, Paterson, N.J. (Curiosity discovered the details for this one)
2. Paoli, F. (1909). St. Frances of Rome. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved October 5, 2012 from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06205c.htm
3.Foley, Leonard Fr, OFM., ed., revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.,2009,Saint of the Day, Lives, Lessons and Feast, St. Anthony�s messenger Press, Cincinnati, OH
Last edited 13/09/2017 07:37
Web administrator Wayne Benge