NEW ADDITIONS TO THE FAMILY! Three more relics have arrived. Fr. Z tells a story.

I am delighted to report the arrival of three additional relics for my altar of “Two Trinities” chapel.

I am deeply devoted to two great Roman saints, who have been my friends and patrons for many years.

Firstly, St. Agnes of Rome, virgin and martyr.  It was at her church in St. Paul that I first discovered the Catholic liturgical tradition and, through it, the Faith and then vocation.   An image of Agnes, one of 5 saints, is etched on the base of my chalice.

I now have a 1st class relic of St. Agnes.

And there is a connection between St Agnes and the next saint.   I get to that later.

When I first went to Rome to study Latin in the summers with Fr. Reginald Foster, one of the places I stayed was in the medieval palazzo of the Ponziani family in Trastevere.  There was a small community there of young men discerning vocations under the aegis of the rector of the nearby Basilica of St. Cecilia.   I got to know the rector quite well in those days.

When I was “deselected” from the process of formation (yes, that’s the word they used) in my native place, and I decided to go to Rome, I lived in that same palazzo again while I found work and new seminary.

St. Frances of Rome married into the Ponziani family, and this was her home.  There is an inscription in one of the rooms of the place indicating that that is where she died.  Since, the whole place has been turned into a lovely, and not so expensive, hotel.  There is a nice chapel there, as well.  I’ve always thought it would be a great place to have a select priests’ conference and pilgrimage.

Santa Francesca Romana!  Among other great accomplishments, she performed miracles during her lifetime and had the grace to see her Angel Guardian.

I prayed to Santa Francesca and to St Agnes a great deal when I was in Rome. I had some very hard years and times there, interspersed with the blessings.  They took good care of me, I believe.

I stayed in Santa Francesca’s house.  Now I can return the favor.  She now stays in a reliquary given by one of you reader’s from my wishlist.  I will remember you who gave these reliquaries because I put “Gift of…” on them.

Meanwhile, I had to move some of the relics, which are in different size containers.  For example, St. Maria Goretti is now housed in this one.

You may be asking yourself at this point about the third relic.  It is of the stake upon which St. John de Britto was bound when he was decapitated in 1693.  The relic comes from the part of the stake which was soaked with the martyr’s blood.  John de Britto was a Portuguese Jesuit missionary to India.  His feast is also his dies natalis, 11 February.  He was canonized by Pius XII in 1947.  St John is greatly venerated by Tamil Catholics.  With the arrival of this relic of the Jesuit saint, perhaps a first spiritual fruit has come: I will add James Martin, SJ, to my list of people for whom I pray at every Mass at the Memento of the Living.

I am so very pleased to be able to have these relics, and so graciously regarded in nice reliquaries, given by readers.  It’s all of a piece, and it means a great deal to me.  Thanks.

Oh yes.  The connection between Agnes of Rome and Frances of Rome?  Francesca was baptized at the Church of St. Agnes at the Piazza Navona, and the baptismal font at which she was baptized is preserved.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    Deo gratias!

    I’ve long desired relics for our little home “chapel”. Is there a way for parity to obtain them?

  2. rayrondini says:

    Oy. Autocorrect. Laity*

  3. marianne says:

    albinus1- 1693

  4. Corey K says:

    What are the relics of Sts. Agnes & Frances? I’m not sure what I’m looking at in the picture.

  5. kurtmasur says:

    Corey K says: “What are the relics of Sts. Agnes & Frances? I’m not sure what I’m looking at in the picture.”

    If my Latin serves me right, the Latin inscription says that they are from the bones of those saints.

  6. HvonBlumenthal says:


    Are there still courses in spoken Latin ? I always dreamt of going.

  7. philosophicallyfrank says:

    Ah! St. Frances of Rome, I grew-up in the parish in Cicero, Il. From 1943 thru 1952 I went to St. Frances of Rome elementary school (K – 8). I was in the choir for 5 of those years and an altar boy for 1 1/2 years. I gave it up because I couldn’t memorize the “prayers at the foot of the altar) and I felt guilty in mumbling them. I look back on those years and marvel at the effort of those nuns. Our class rooms averaged 65 boys and girls with one nun trying to teach them. The parish rectory was the “home” of, then, Aux. Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki now Bishop of Springfield, Il. I have often thought that St. Frances of Rome would make an excellent replacement for St. Christopher, whose existence has been in question for some time if my memory serves me correctly. She is a patron saint of travelers.

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