9 March: St. Frances of Rome – “Temporibus calamitosis…”

Today is the feast of one of my favorite saints, St. Frances of Rome (+1440).

Young Frances married into the Ponziani family, whose medieval palazzo is still in Trastevere.  When I moved to Rome many years ago I first lived there in that palazzo.  Therein is a chapel in the place where she died.  It is a nice place to stay in Rome, by the way.

She has a place in my life, for sure.

At the death of her husband she founded a convent of Benedictine nuns, Oblates of the Benedictine Congregation of Monte Oliveti, headquartered in the nearby Tor di Specchi.  This convent is open once a year, today, for the public to enjoy.  St. Francis body is in the church in the Roman Forum called S. Maria Nova al Foro Romano.

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, “With her husband’s consent Frances practiced continence, and advanced in a life of contemplation. Her visions often assumed the form of drama enacted for her by heavenly personages. She had the gift of miracles and ecstasy, (as) well as the bodily vision of her guardian angel, had revelations concerning purgatory and hell, and foretold the ending of the Western Schism. She could read the secrets of consciences and detect plots of diabolical origin. She was remarkable for her humility and detachment, her obedience and patience[.]”

During life she was reknowned for her works of mercy and even miraculous healings.

St. Frances, pray for us.

Here is her entry from the Martyrologium Romanum:

Sanctae Franciscae, religiosae, quae, adulescentula nupta, in matrimonio quadraginta annos vixit, uxor et materfamilias probata, pietate, humiltate et patientia admirabilis.  Temporibus calamitosis, bona sua paurperibus distribuit, aegrotis ministravit et, coniuge defuncto, inter oblatas, quas sub Regula santi Benedicti Romae congregaverat, secessit.

Who wants to take a crack at it?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. filioque says:

    OK, here goes:
    [Feast] of St. Frances, religious, who, having married as a young girl, lived 40 years in matrimony, a wife and admirable mother of her family, proven in piety, humility, and patience. In calamitous times, she distributed her goods to the poor, ministered to the sick, and, her husband having died, withdrew among the consecrated, whom she gathered in Rome under the Rule of St. Benedict.

  2. Blackfriar says:

    You will find a “crack” at this and the rest of the “universal” saints in the new Martyrology at http://www.op.org.au/texts/mart_lent_2012.pdf

    My community has revived the reading of the Martyrology in choir as a Lentern exercise. It has been well received. Perhaps I will be persuaded to translate the rest of the year, as we wait for the “official” job to be done.
    When I speak of “universal” saints, I mean those without an asterisk in the Martyrology. The new Martyrology has added many saints not found in the old one, but many of these have only a local cult. they are marked with an asterisk, and are readonly in those local places where their cult has been approved. They make for interesting reading, of course, but to get the text done in time for Lent, I had to restrict myself to the text we would be actually reading in my community.

  3. acroat says:

    It is most laudable in a married woman to be devout, but she must never forget her duties as a wife.
    Sometimes she must leave God at the altar to find Him in her housework.
    – St Frances

    St Frances, help me to balance my life so that I may seek and find God everywhere, in everything.

  4. Tom in NY says:

    “The feast of St. Frances, a religious. She married in adolescence and lived in matrimony for forty years. She proved herself, as a wife and mother of a family, to be admirable in duty, humility and patience. In time of disaster, she distributed her goods to the poor and cared for the sick. Since her husband had passed away, she retired among consecrated women, whom she had gathered at Rome under the Rule of St. Benedict.”

    Ut dicitur, lingua latina una sententia, anglica tres, loquitur. Tempore plusquamperfectum congregaverat notatur.
    Salutationes omnibus.

  5. Andrew says:

    (Feast of) S. Frances, religious, who, having been married at a young age, lived in matrimony for 40 years, praised as a wife and mother, in admirable piety, humility and patience. In dire times she distributed her goods to the poor, she ministered to the sick, and upon the death of her husband, retired to a community of oblates which she founded under the Rule of S. Benedict.

    Re: uxor et materfamilias probata:

    “Probata” (from probare) conveys the concept of “proving oneself”, of “being tested”, and thereby, also of being “praised” and “admired”.

    Re: temporibus calamitosis:

    “Calamitas” (english calamity) is associated with “calamus” (reed or stalk). Because a storm and especially hail could break the stalks (calamos) in the fields the result was called a “calamitas”. The contrary of “calamitas” is “incolumitas”: a state of well insured safety.
    I like to explore the imagery lurking behind the language. Most (all?) concepts start with something material and by association, point to something immaterial.

  6. filioque says:

    @Tom in NY:
    “Ut dicitur, lingua latina una sententia, anglica tres, loquitur. Tempore plusquamperfectum congregaverat notatur.”

    Bene dicta!

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  8. inara says:

    acroat, *thank you* for that quote! That is a particular struggle of mine. Most women I know say they have to try hard not to be “all Martha, no Mary” & I am just the opposite.

  9. Suburbanbanshee says:

    She foretold the end of the Western Schism?

    Man, how come we never hear about the prophecies of good stuff? Always with the bad stuff, those prophecy mavens….

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