To vow or not to vow

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

To vow or not to vow
National Catholic Sisters Week, day 2

During this week of National Catholic Sisters week, we celebrate the feast day of St. Frances of Rome (1384-1440 . She didnít become a religious† until late in life but she was the foundress of the Oblates of Mary.

Frances was born in Rome into a well-to-do family at a time when there was fierce civil opposition between Italy and the papal states. This was also a time of plagues in Italy.† Frances was married at age 13 to Lorenzo Ponziano, a prominent Roman figure.† They had a wonderful, respectful 40 year marriage.† Lorenzoís sister became good friends with Frances and the two used their resources to help the poor.† Because of the civil strife, Lorenzoís land was invaded causing him to became an impoverishes and broken man needing† Frances to care for him the rest of his life.† Frances turned her home into a hospital to care for children who were the victims of the plaque.† One of her sons and a daughter died during this time.† When Frances was 30 years old, their fortune reversed itself and she regained their properties.†† Her remaining son married but† his wife had only contempt for Frances until Frances nursed her through a severe illness.† When she was 42 years old Frances gathered† together other women who were willing to care for the needy and the poor and founded the Oblates of Mary, a society of women bound by no vows.† At the time she was still married to Lorenzo.†† After 10 years, he died and she then entered the community that she had founded and was elected as its superior. Four years later, she died.† It was said of her that she had a great devotion to her guardian angel and that she was given an almost constant vision of her angel at her side.

Reflection from
Looking at the exemplary life of fidelity to God and devotion to her fellow human beings which Frances of Rome was blessed to lead, one cannot help but be reminded of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta (September 5), who loved Jesus Christ in prayer and also in the poor. The life of Frances of Rome calls each of us not only to look deeply for God in prayer, but also to carry our devotion to Jesus living in the suffering of our world. Frances shows us that this life need not be restricted to those bound by vows.

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