St. Francis of Rome
Life of Saint Frances of Rome
Saint Frances of Rome, also known as Franziske av Rome and Francesca Bussa de’ Leoni was born in 1384 in Rome to the aristocrats, Paul Bussa and Jacobella de’ Roffredeschi.
At the age of 11, Saint Frances decided she wanted to enter the convent but her parents arranged a marriage for her when she was 13 years old. Although marriage was not in Saint Frances’ original plans, she remained happily married for 40 years. While her husband, Lorenzo, was away fighting in the war, Saint Frances and her sister tended to the poor and infirm of Rome.
Gift of Miracles
Saint Frances of Rome had visions of heavenly beings, including her guardian angel. Many pictures of Saint Frances of Rome depict her guardian angel standing behind her. Saint Francesca also saw visions of purgatory and hell, foretold the future, and could read the minds of others.
Saint Frances Establishes the Olivetan Oblates of Mary
On the feast of the Assumption, August 15, 1425, Saint Frances of Rome established the Olivetan Oblates of Mary. The women did not take vows but lived their lives in the service of the sick, the poor, and abandoned children.
In 1433, Pope Eugene IV gave permission for Saint Frances to found a Benedictine convent for the women. The Olivetan Oblates of Mary became known as the Oblates of Saint Frances of Rome, also called, Collatines.
After the death of her husband in 1436, Saint Frances became the mother superior of the convent. Saint Frances of Rome died on March 9, 1440. The Feast of Saint Frances of Rome is celebrated in the Catholic Church on March 9.
Saint Frances of Rome Canonized
Pope Paul V canonized Saint Frances of Rome on May 9, 1608. Her body remains in a crystal coffin beneath the sacristy floor in the church of Santa Francesca Romana. Here the faithful pay homage and pray to Saint Frances.
Saint Frances of Rome Patron Saint
Pope Pius XI named Saint Frances of Rome the patron saint of automobile drivers because it is said that an angel held a lantern for Saint Frances, lighting her way on dark roads to keep her safe from dangers. On March 9, the Feast of Saint Frances, priests bless drivers and their cars.
Many Catholics wear a Saint Frances of Rome necklace or a Saint Frances of Rome medal to protect them while they are driving.