Saint Frances of Rome


Saint Frances of Rome (1384-1440)

March 9

Frances was born in Rome in 1384 to a wealthy, noble family. On the orders of her father, she married Lorenzo Ponziani at the age of thirteen. He was noble and wealthy, and he loved her very much.

Frances and her sister-in-law Vannozza became close friends. They visited prisons and served in hospitals. It was not fashionable for noblewomen to help the poor, but Lorenzo supported his wife’s efforts.

In the early 1400s, a flood brought disease and famine to Rome. Frances and Vannozza went out with corn, wine, oil, and clothing from their family’s possessions. Her father-in-law tried to stop them, but a miracle happened. The family’s empty corn loft suddenly filled with corn and their empty wine cask was full. These incidents led Lorenzo and his father to a deeper trust in God’s power and plan. With her husband’s and father-in-law’s blessings, Frances sold her jewels and clothes and distributed money to the needy. When civil war came to Rome, she turned her house into a hospital and a homeless shelter.

After the war was over, Frances started a lay order of women called the Oblates of Mary. They bought a house where the widowed members could live in community. After Lorenzo’s death, Frances moved into the house. After having lived her vocation as a married woman, at the age of fifty-two, Frances entered a second vocation as a consecrated religious sister. She died four years later. Her last words were, “The angel has finished his task— he beckons me to follow him.”

Discuss: What have you done to care for the poor, the sick, or those affected by natural disasters?

The Prayer of Saint Theresa of Avila


This is an appropriate time to teach the children the prayer of Saint Theresa of Avila.

Christ Has No Body

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.