Today the Church honors St. Frances of Rome, an Italian married woman who lived an exemplary life as a wife and mother during difficult times of plague and war. She serves as a model for all married women who strive to integrate their devotion to God with their vocation as a wife and mother.
- Born in 1384 in Rome
- Married Lorenzo dei Ponziani in 1396
- Mother of six children
- Died March 9, 1440
- Canonized May 29, 1608
Read the story of St. Frances of Rome in the Catholic Encyclopedia.
St. Frances’ sufferings:
- Five out of her six children did not survive childhood. Two died during the plague of 1410.
- During a war between the Papal States and Naples, her surviving child, Battista, was taken hostage, and her husband suffered a serious stab wound. Also during this war, St. Frances’ husband’s ancestral palace burnt to the ground.
- Her son Battista married an arrogant woman who deliberately insulted and offended her mother-in-law. St. Frances eventually won her over through patience and humility.
- Despite her high birth, St. Frances dressed simply and modestly. She was known to travel the streets of Rome in shabby attire, collecting alms and firewood for the poor.
- Stories relate that St. Frances enjoyed mystical experiences, in which she would talk with Jesus, Mary, and her own guardian angel.
- In her later years, St. Frances formed a community of Roman women who cared for the poor, sick, and homeless of Rome.
- A church in the Roman Forum section of Rome is dedicated to St. Frances: Santa Francesca Romana. Relics of the saint are housed here.
- “A married woman must leave all her devotions when the household demands it.” – St. Frances
- “She did not cease to be mindful of the things of God during her marriage, so that she pleased God in her husband and her husband in God.” – from the prayer book of the community founded by St. Frances
Patron saint of those who lose a child to death, people ridiculed for their piety, lay people, and taxi drivers. (About the latter – while St. Frances never even saw a car, legend says that when she walked the streets of Rome at night, her guardian angel went before her, lighting the roads and keeping her safe.)
St. Frances of Rome, wife and mother, pray for us!