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Edward O'Shaughnessy

Frances of Rome

(1384 - 1440)

Frances was born in Rome of wealthy parents. When she was young she wanted to serve God and so became attracted to the duties of religious life. Unfortunately her parents objected to this idea and they selected a handsome, young nobleman to become her husband.

Although Frances had not wished for this marriage she was a devoted and a loving wife for the nobleman. In her heart she longed for a lifestyle of complete prayer and service to our Lord. So she organized a group of women to attend to the needs of Rome's poor families.

As she grew friendlier with her husband's relatives, she realized that the wife of her husband's brother also wished to lead a life a prayer and service to our Lord. So together, Frances and Vannozza set out to help the poor, having been given permission by their husbands.

Frances became ill for a short time, which deepened her commitment to other people. As the years passed Frances gave birth to a daughter and two sons. The responsibilities a family life brought her home to care for her children and, the family flourished.

Years later a plague swept through Italy and when it reached Rome Frances' second son died. Frances, in order to ease the sufferings of other people, sold all her possessions so she was able to buy whatever the sick needed. At last their resources ran out and they reduced themselves to door-todoor begging. Later when Frances' daughter died, the saint opened up part of her home to create a hospital.

With permission she founded a society of women which had no vows and they offered themselves to God and helped the poor. Once the society was well established Frances went home to live with her husband. For seven years she did this then her husband passed away and she went back to the society. She spent the rest of her life there. This saint's feast day is on March 9th.

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