St. Frances of Rome

St Francis of RomeSt. Frances of Rome lived from 1384 to 1440. She is patron saint for widows and oblates. Born to a wealthy family, she ran afoul of her father when she decided to become a nun. Instead, he married her off at age 13 to Lorenzo Ponziani, a wealthy young noble who was in love with her.

In 1425, Frances founded the Oblates of Mary, a lay order of women serving the Benedictines. Although remaining in the world, the women vowed to serve the poor. They operated a house for widowed members. She also started a monastery eight years later at Tor de Specchi.

Frances is the patron saint of the Oblates and was canonized by Pope Paul V in 1608. Pope Pius XI made her patron saint for vehicle drivers because she had an angel light her way by legend. Her feast day is March 9.


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