Greetings Oblates and Professed Brothers & Sisters,
Happy Feast Day!
St Frances of Rome – March 9th
Patroness of Benedictine Oblates
Although during Lent, feast days are often subsumed by our Lenten fasting, prayers, works of charity, and our preferential option to serve the anawim of God, I’d like to not forget St. Frances of Rome, Patroness of Benedictine Oblates.
In fidelity to Pope Francis’ call that our Lenten Observances include prayers for peace in Ukraine, we can ask St. Frances of Rome to aid our petitions for peace and justice.
Through her intercession my we be faithful to our Oblation: A key to this life is found in the Rule of St. Benedict: “That God may be glorified in all things” (RB 57:9). For many Oblates, “all things” encompasses prayer and work, sacred studies, fidelity to the church—the people of God—, recreation, family, friends and enemies.
A watchword of ours is “PAX”—may the Peace of Christ be a driving force in our lives.
From the Roman Office:
Saint Frances of Rome, Religious
Saint Frances of Rome was born in 1384 in Rome, the daughter of a wealthy aristocratic couple. At the age of 12, she was arranged to marry Lorenzo Ponziani, Commander of the papal troops of Rome. Their marriage lasted forty years and bore three children. Rome was in chaos and ruins at the time after many battles between popes and anti-popes as well as periods of Neapolitan occupation. Tragically, Frances’ two daughters were killed, her husband seriously wounded, and her son nearly escaped ransom. These strifes led Frances into deep prayer and into a life of service.
She joined her sister, Vannozza, in traveling through the city caring for the sick and the poor. Frances turned part of her family’s estate into a hospital and ultimately, founded the Olivetan Oblates of Mary. This group of pious women was not cloistered or vowed but served the needs of their community through prayer and acts of charity. The group eventually grew to include a monastery, calling its members the Oblates of Saint Frances of Rome. After her husband’s death, Frances moved into the monastery and became its president. She was canonized in 1608 by Pope Paul V and is the patron saint of oblates.*
And, for those who pray from the text, “Benedictine Daily Prayer: A Short Breviary” (© Liturgical Press, St John’s Abby, Collegeville, MN), a prayer to our Patroness is found on p. 1714.
[First-class relic of St Frances of Rome. Besides sacramental liturgy and sacramentals, catechesis must take into account the forms of piety and popular devotions among the faithful. The religious sense of the Christian people has always found expression in various forms of piety surrounding the Church’s sacramental life, such as the veneration of relics, visits to sanctuaries, pilgrimages, processions, the stations of the cross, religious dances, the rosary, medals, etc. (from the Catechism of the Catholic Church).]
May our Lenten journey be sacred, blessed and lead us to the passion, death and glorious Resurrection of Christ at Holy Easter.
+ In His love +
Brother Nicholas OblOSB