Benedictine Saints: Frances of Rome

Statue of Frances of Rome and one of her children. Photo was taken by Lawrence OP and uploaded to Flickr.

Here is another Benedictine saint who appears in the Benedictine and Ignatius scramble.

Frances of Rome was not a typical Benedictine. She was a married woman with three children, but she was a Benedictine oblate. A religious oblate is a person who wants to participate in the life of a religious order while still living in the world.

When Frances was a little girl, she wanted to become a nun. Her parents, however, wanted her to marry a man named Lorenzo. Lorenzo held a very important position; he was the leader of the troops who protected the Pope. Frances thought that she wouldn’t be able to serve God if she got married. As it turns out, she was able to do amazing things for God while being a wife and mother.

She took care of her children and her relatives, and nursed her husband after he was wounded in battle. But she also took care of the poor and destitute, gathered other women together for prayer, and eventually founded a religious order of Benedictine Oblates. When the people of Rome were suffering from a famine, she drove through the countryside in a wagon to gather supplies.

Frances is a good patron for ordinary people who want to be saints. We don’t all have to be priests or monks or nuns to be holy. If we love God and try to help others, we will become saints right where we are.