I have great affection for St. Frances of Rome, Santa Francesca Romana.
When I was exiled from these USA to Rome, I lived at first in her house, the Palazzo of the Ponziani family into which she married, where you find a chapel where she died in 1440. I feel as if she took me under her wing in those first critical months in Trastevere, where Romanaccio was being fused into my marrow with great intensity.
I went from the tutelage of a Roman virgin martyr, St. Agnes (in St. Paul) to a Roman widow (in Rome).
She is patroness of Rome, along with Sts. Peter and Paul, and St. Philip Neri (on whose feast I was ordained).
She had the grace of being able to see her Guardian Angel. How cool is that?
As mentioned, young Frances married into the Ponziani family, whose medieval palazzo is still in Trastevere close to the Basilica of Santa Cecilia.
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 renowned for her works of mercy, almsgiving, and miraculous healings.
St. Frances, pray for us. Help especially the Church in Rome! Ask your guardian angel to guide our pastors.
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?
Today in the Extraordinary Form Francesca receives a commemoration. Here is her collect:
Deus, qui beátam Francíscam fámulam tuam, inter cétera grátiæ tuæ dona, familiári Angeli consuetúdine decorásti: concéde, quaesumus; ut, intercessiónis eius auxílio, Angelórum consórtium cónsequi mereámur.