Monday, February 13, 2006
St. Frances of Rome
St. Frances was born at Rome in Italy. Her family was wealthy, but they taught Frances to be concerned about people and to live a good Christian life. Frances was an intelligent little girl who informed her parents when she was eleven that she had made up her mind to be a nun.
Her parents encouraged her to think of marriage instead. As was the custom, they selected a good young man to be her husband. She was thirteen when she was married.
Frances and her husband, Lorenzo, fell in love with each other. Even though their marriage was arranged, they were happily married for forty years. She was a good wife and mother. Lorenzo admired and loved his wife
Frances knew that her first duty as to take care of he family and she put her all into taking care of them. She prayed every day and did penance for Jesus' Church, which faced many difficulties at that time. She took care of the poor and the sick. Frances and Lorenzo were kindhearted people. They knew what it was like to suffer as two of their three children died from the plague. This made them even more aware of the needs of the poor. Other rich women were inspired by her example. Frances became more and more prayerful and really grew close to Jesus and Mary.
During the wars between the rightful pope and the anti-popes, Lorenzo led the armies that defended the true pope. While he was away at battle, his enemies destroyed his property and possessions and also put their son into prison. They had nothing now but Frances accepted it all as God’s will.
Frances cleaned up a part of the family villa that had been destroyed and used it for a hospital. As hard as things were for her family, the people out on the street were in greater need. Lorenzo was wounded and came home to be nursed back to health by his loving wife. He died in 1436.
Frances spent the remaining four years of her life in the religious congregation called the Collatines which she helped to start. St. Frances of Rome died on March 9, 1440.
Saint Frances shows us how to keep the delicate balance between family life and her personal relationship with God and her desire to show compassion to others.