Baciccio-Saint_Francesca_Romana_Giving_AlmsFrances of Rome

1384 – 1440, Feast March 9

This laywoman and foundress, born a Roman aristocrat, married Lorenzo Ponziano when she was 13; they had several children. In 1409, their palazzo was pillaged by Neapolitan soldiers and Lorenzo was exiled for five years, returning home a broken man. He died in 1436. Frances, known for her great charity during epidemics and civil war, organized a ladies society dedicated to self-denial and good works. It became the Oblates of Tor de Specchi, which she directed for her last four years. She is the patron saint of motorists, perhaps because she was guarded for 23 years by an archangel visible only to her. Her last words were: “The angel has finished his work. He is beckoning me to follow.”