Friday, March 9, 2012

St Frances Of Rome

Today is the feast of St Frances of Rome, wife, mother, mystic, foundress.  She founded the Olivetan Oblates of  Mary, based at Tor de Specchi in Rome. Her relics rest under the altar in the Church of Santa Maria Nova in the Fourm.  I remember when studying in Rome having to make a number of visits to the church before I finally hit on it being open and being able to see and venerate her remains.  Her skeleton is clothed in a habit and laid out in a glass-fronted tomb.

Frances was an amazing woman - she juggled family life - adoring husband and children, with a mystical life while organising and forming women in the religious life - no mean feat: I suppose that's what you call multi-tasking which women seem to be able to perfect.  We poor men just have to do things one at a time! 

St Frances is considered one of the city of Rome's great saints and patrons.  Apart from her holiness and interesting life, I love the image Orazio Gentileschi painted of her.  Very much influenced by Caravaggio in his work, Gentileschi has created a wonderful tableau depicting the Saint's vision of the Child Jesus in the arms of his mother. 

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