Saint Frances of Rome (1384-1440)
Frances models how to find balance among the many tensions of life. She had an ardent desire to join Religious Life when she was young, but her parents had her married instead. Amidst all the many demands of family life, Frances maintained a deep life prayer. Her family was of the noble class, yet she used her resources to be able to minister to the poor. She herself would visit and care for the sick in the hospital. Under her noble garments, she wore sackcloth – thus secretly practicing mortification while maintaining a public appearance proper to her state in life. Frances had a daughter-in-law, Mobilia who treated her poorly. However, when Mobilia fell ill, Frances’ tenderly nursed her back to health. Her tender and loving service converted her daughter-in-law. Her prayers and service helped Rome during times of plague and distress, and also helped to end the Great Western Schism. After forty years of married life, with the passing of her husband, Frances joined the Religious Congregation that she had founded, the Oblates of Mary, where she finished her days on earth.
Merciful Father, in Frances of Rome you have given us a unique example of love in marriage as well as in religious life. Keep us faithful in your service, and help us to see and follow you in all the aspects of life.