Saint Frances of Rome, Religious
Saint Frances of Rome was born in 1384 in Rome, the daughter of a wealthy aristocratic couple. At the age of 12, she was arranged to marry Lorenzo Ponziani, Commander of the papal troops of Rome. Their marriage lasted forty years and bore three children. Rome was in chaos and ruins at the time after many battles between popes and anti-popes as well as periods of Neapolitan occupation. Tragically, Frances’ two daughters were killed, her husband seriously wounded, and her son nearly escaped ransom. These strifes led Frances into deep prayer and into a life of service.
She joined her sister, Vannozza, in traveling through the city caring for the sick and the poor. Frances turned part of her family’s estate into a hospital and ultimately, founded the Olivetan Oblates of Mary. This group of pious women was not cloistered or vowed but served the needs of their community through prayer and acts of charity. The group eventually grew to include a monastery, calling its members the Oblates of Saint Frances of Rome. After her husband’s death, Frances moved into the monastery and became its president. She was canonized in 1608 by Pope Paul V and is the patron saint of oblates.*
Written by Sarah Ciotti
Catholicpedia: The Original Catholic Encyclopedia (1917) for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. s.v. “St. Frances of Rome”
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