Saint Frances of Rome

Also known as

  • Franziske av Rome
  • Francesca Bussa de’ Leoni
  • Francesca Romana

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Born to the aristocracy, the daughter of Paul Bussa and Jacobella de’ Roffredeschi. Married at age twelve to Lorenzo de’ Ponziani; her marriage lasted 40 years. Mother of three in 1400, 1404, and 1407. Widow.

Benedictine. Foundress of the Oblates of the Tor de’ Specchi (Collatines). Said to have been guided by an archangel only she could see. Spent her life and fortune, both as laywoman and religious, in the service of the sick and the poor, including the founding of the first home in Rome for abandoned children. Dictated 97 Visions, in which she saw many of the pains of Hell.

On her feast day priests bless cars due to her patronage of cars and drivers. Frances certainly never drove, but legend says that when she went abroad at night, her guardian angel went before her, lighting the road with a headlight-like lantern, keeping her safe in her travels.

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God not only tested the patience of Frances with respect to her material wealth, but he also tested her especially through long and serious illnesses which she had to undergo. And yet no one ever observed in her a tendency toward impatience. She never exhibited any displeasure when she complied with an order, no matter how foolish. With peace of soul, she always reconciled herself to the will of God, and gave him thanks for all that happened. God had not chosen her to be holy merely for her own advantage. Rather the gifts he conferred upon her were to be for the spiritual and physical advantage of her neighbor. For this reason he made her so lovable that anyone with whom she spoke would immediately feel captivated by love for her and ready to help her in everything she wanted. She seemed able to subdue the passions of every type of person with a single word and lead them to do whatever she asked. For this reason people flocked to Frances from all directions, as to a safe refuge. No one left her without being consoled, although she openly rebuked them for their sins and fearlessly reproved them for what was evil and displeasing to God. Many different diseases were rampant in Rome. Fatal diseases and plagues were everywhere, but the saint ignored the risk of contagion and displayed the deepest kindness toward the poor and the needy. Her empathy would first bring them to atone for their sins. Then she would help them by her eager care, and urge them lovingly to accept their trials, however, difficult, from the hand of God. She would encourage them to endure their sufferings for love of Christ, since he had previously endured so much for them. For thirty years Frances continued this service to the sick and the stranger. During epidemics like this it was not only difficult to find doctors to care for the body but even priests to provide remedies for the soul. She herself would seek them out and bring them to those who were disposed to receive the sacraments of penance and the Eucharist. - from the Life of Saint Frances of Rome by a contemporary

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Frances of Rome“. Saints.SQPN.com. 28 August 2014. Web. 29 August 2014. <>