FRANCES was born at Rome in 1384. Her parents were of high rank. They overruled her desire to become a nun, and at twelve years of age married her to Lorenzo Ponziano, a Roman noble. During the forty years of their married life they never had a disagreement. While spending her days in retirement and prayer, she attended promptly to every household duty, saying, "A married woman must leave God at the altar to find Him in her domestic cares;" and she once found the verse of a psalm in which she had been four times thus interrupted completed for her in letters of gold. Her ordinary food was dry bread. Secretly she would exchange with beggars good food for their hard crusts; her drink was water, and her cup a human skull. During the invasion of Rome, in 1418, Ponziano was banished, his estates confiscated, his house destroyed, and his eldest son taken as a hostage. Frances saw in these losses only the finger of God, and blessed His holy name. When peace was restored Ponziano recovered his estates, and Frances founded the Oblates. After her husband's death, barefoot and with a cord about her neck she begged admission to the community, and was soon elected Superioress. She lived always in the presence of God, and amongst many visions , was given constant sight of her angel guardian, who shed such a brightness around him that the Saint could read her midnight Office by this light alone. He shielded her in the hour of temptation, and directed her in every good act. But when she was betrayed into some defect, he faded from her sight; and when some light words were spoken before her, he covered his face in shame. She died on the day she had foretold, March 9, 1440.On 9 May 1608 she was canonized by Pope Paul V, and in the following decades a diligent search was made for her remains. They were found on 2 April 1638 and reburied on 9 March 1649, which since then is her feast day. Again, in 1869, her body was exhumed and has since then been exposed to the veneration of the faithful in a crystal coffin. The church of Santa Maria Nova is usually now referred to as the church of Santa Francesca Romana.In 1925 Pope Pius XI declared her the patron saint of automobile drivers because of a legend that an angel used to light the road in front of her with a lantern when she travelled, keeping her safe from hazards.
Reflection.--God has appointed an angel to guard each one of us, to whose warnings we are bound to attend. Let us listen to his voice here, and we shall see him hereafter, when he leads us before the throne of God.
Chinese New Year
8 years ago