Saint Frances of Rome

Feast Day: March 9th

Timeline
15th Century

LIFE

Frances was born in Rome in 1384. Her parents, of high rank, overruled her desire to become a nun, and when she reached the age of twelve, married her to Lorenzo Ponziano, a Roman noble. During the forty years of their married life they never had a disagreement. While spending her days in retirement and prayer, Saint Frances attended promptly to every household duty, saying, A married woman must leave God at the altar to find Him in her domestic cares. Her ordinary food was dry bread, and secretly she would exchange with beggars good food for their hard crusts.

Two of her children died young. Her son was nine years old when he foretold his father’s death wound and his own coming departure for heaven; and then he returned a year later with an Angel whom she saw clearly. He said he had come for his little five year-old sister, that she might be placed among the Angels with him. He left the Angel with her in exchange, to remain always.

During the invasion of Rome in 1413, Lorenzo was banished, his estates confiscated, his house destroyed, and his eldest son taken as a hostage. Frances saw in these losses only the hand of God, and blessed His holy Name. When peace was restored Ponziano recovered his estates, and after her husband’s death, Saint Frances founded a Community of Benedictine Oblate nuns. At the age of forty-three, barefoot and with a cord about her neck she asked admission to the community, and was soon elected Superior.

She lived at all times in the presence of God, and among many visions was given constant sight of her Angel, who shed such a brightness around him that the Saint could read her midnight Office by this light alone. He shielded her in time of temptation, and directed her in every good act. But when she fell into some fault, he faded from her sight, and whenever any unsuitable words were spoken before her, he covered his face in shame. Saint Frances died on the day she foretold, March 9, 1440.

Patronage

Motorists - Widows

Source: sanctoral.com

SETTING

Birthplace

Born

AD 1384
Rome, Papal States (Italy)

Death

9 March 1440 (Age 56 approx.)
Rome, Papal States (Italy)​

Canonized

1608 (Pope Paul V)

Shrine/Relics/Tomb

Church of Santa Francesca, Rome, Italy

Info

Frances put God first in her vocation and was an example of God's love by being charitable to everyone around her. The troubles she experienced appeared to only strengthen her faith. In 1925, Pope Pius XI declared Frances the patron saint of motorists because of the legend that an angel would keep her safe in her travels by providing her light.