Frances of Rome (1384-1440)
ST. FRANCES OF ROME was a wife, mother, nun and founder of a religious order . . .
Feast Day: March 9
Canonized: May 9, 1608
Born to a wealthy family of Rome, Frances was attracted to religious life early on. Her parents disagreed, and Lorenzo Ponziani, commander of the papal troops of Rome, was chosen to be her husband. The devoted wife longed to live a life of charity.
With their husbands’ blessings, Frances and her sister-in-law set out to serve Rome’s poor, inspiring other wealthy women to do the same.
Frances gave birth to three children, and for a time set aside her work with the poor to serve her family. She sold her possessions and used the money to provide for the sick and suffering, even opening a portion of her home as a hospital.
In 1425, Frances founded the Olivetan Oblates of Mary, a society of women bound by no vows, who offered themselves to God and to the service of the poor. In 1433, she founded a monastery. Frances, however, remained at home, nursing her husband for the last seven years of his life. When he died, she spent her remaining years in the monastery, becoming the Superior. During Frances’ canonization process, more than 60 miraculous cures were attributed to her gift of healing. She is the patron of widows, oblates, and automobile drivers.
TIM DRAKE is Legatus magazine’s editorial assistant.