On Giants' Shoulders

Saturday, March 10, 2007

A New Friend in the Church Triumphant

Yesterday was the feast day of a saint I had never before heard of, Frances of Rome. Obviously, I don't do enough reading about the saints because this lady was one whom I wouldn't have missed if I'd chanced upon her story before. She lived in the 15th century during the Western Schism of the Church and actually had visions assuring her of its end. What was most significant to me, however, was not the visions or the ecstasies, or even her loving care of the poor and sick. It was her attitude about her primary vocation. It is best summed up in this quotation: "Sometimes, a wife must leave God at the altar to find him in her household management."

There is a story told of a day when Frances was attempting to read morning prayer. She was interrupted four times by members of the household with needs or concerns. Each time she dutifully responded to them and attempted to return to morning prayer. After the fourth return the print of the antiphon in her breviary had turned to gold and remained so for the rest of her life.

I have often been interrupted in the same way, but I haven't seen any gold print as yet. I suspect that my attitude upon being interrupted may have something to do with that. I love about St. Frances that she could see her duty to God being fulfilled in the tasks of her household. She dressed according to her station in life, she loved the people around her even when they were unkind to her, she came to understand that her sister-in-law was not merely frivolous, but simply had a different temperament while still desiring to live a holy life. All in all she is a lovely role model not only for the housewives of Rome, whose patron she is, but for housewives everywhere.

St. Frances organized the Oblates of Mary who lived in their homes under the Rule of St. Benedict without vows. Later she acquired an old building and called the widowed and unmarried in the Oblates to live in community. After hr husband died Frances joined the Oblates and became their superior. It is said that for twenty-three years her guardian angel was visible to her and aided her in her service. Bert Ghezzi says: "Frances of Rome should be named patron of wishes that don't come true. By submitting faithfully to God, she receivd even more than she wanted -- the blessings of both married and religious life." She is also for some strange reason (strange in that she only left Rome once in her life) the patron of motorists. So if you are about to take an automobile trip, you might want to ask for her intercession.


At 8:28 AM, Blogger Kitchen Madonna said...

Hey, can I borrow that quote about housewives! That is fabulous! Who says you need a PR firm. Those saints knew all about sound bites didn't they?


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