Thursday, March 9, 2017
Feast of St. Frances of Rome
From the life of St. Frances of Rome by Antoniazzo Romano. 15th Century.
Today is the Feast of the great noble lady, mother, widow, and religious, St. Frances of Rome (+1440AD). She is the patron saint of drivers -- much venerated in Rome!
She was born in the neighborhood of Trastevere in Rome in 1384AD, and she would be married at a young age, at her family's insistence, to one Lorenzo Ponziano. Though married, she went to confession weekly, as she did Holy Communion, and was often seen helping at the hospital of Santo Spirito. She became mistress of the family house at the time of her first child's birth in 1400. She would have several more children in what was a turbulent time in Rome -- not only were there political struggles in the kingdom of Naples to the south, but the trials of the Great Western Schism. She would fall victim to the plague in 1414, but recovered. Her husband's health did not, and he allowed her to dedicate herself more to charity in Rome. She organized a community of women affiliated with the Benedictines, who shared a life in common, but did not take vows. This group of Oblates was approved by Pope Eugene IV in 1433. St. Frances joined them herself at the death of her husband in 1436. She would finally died in 1440AD. St. Frances of Rome was canonized by Pope Paul V in 1608AD.
One of my favorite stories of St. Frances of Rome is as follows: "Whilst she was at her prayers or other exercises, if called away by her husband, or the meanest person of her family, she laid all aside to obey without delay, saying, 'A married woman must, when called upon, quit her devotions to God at the altar to find him in her household affairs.' God was pleased to show her the merit of this her obedience; for the authors of her life relate, that being called away four times in beginning the same verse of a psalm in our Lady's office, returning the fifth time, she found that verse written in golden letters." (cf., EWTN: St. Frances of Rome)
Old Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Frances of Rome
Catholic Saints Info: St. Frances of Rome
This blogger had the opportunity to visit the tomb of St. Frances of Rome in the Roman Basilica of Santa Francesca Romana. She is pictured below in a photo by this blogger:
A reminder of the Catholic practice of Holy Relics: Old Catholic Encyclopedia: Relics