Monday, March 9, 2015

St. Frances of Rome

Today’s saint on my calendar caught my eye because of the name Frances. But wait, a woman Frances! I was already on board. Frances of Rome was born into a noble family in 1384. She wanted to become a nun, but she was married off to a nobleman. She prayed to God to stop the marriage, but her confessor challenged her, “Are you crying because you want to do God’s will or because you want God to do your will?”

Her husband Lorenzo Ponziani was reportedly a good and loving man, even though Frances was unhappy living the social life of Roman nobility. She and her sister-in-law dutifully attended to social functions for their family, but also served in prisons and hospitals, helping the poor and needy.

The family suffered from the civil unrest in Rome during that time. Their house was raided, Lorenzo was attacked, and their son was kidnapped. Frances opened up their own as a hospital. With Lorenzo’s support, she started a lay order called the Oblates of Mary for women who lived in the world but were dedicated to helping the poor.

When Lorenzo died, his last words to Frances were, “I feel as if my whole life has been one beautiful dream of purest happiness. God has given me so much in your love.” Afterward, she moved into a house of widowed Oblates. I really love that Frances is a good example for both married and religious women. St. Frances of Rome died in 1440. Her feast day is March 9.

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