Today’s Saint

Daily Journey with the Saints

March 9 | Mourning

Saint Frances of Rome

A.D. 1384–1450

When horrible things happen to us, we want to believe that there is a proper way to deal with the experience, to process it, to heal from it. Maybe there is and maybe there isn’t. One thing is for sure and that is this: It is messy.

We learn this truth in a painful way when we lose someone we love. We’re told that the five stages of grieving are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. It’s a very neat and tidy process, isn’t it? The reality of course is that life is messy, and we are intimately aware of that when we are grieving. 

Saint Frances of Rome had to go through this process and mourn the loved ones she lost, but she emerged as a shining beacon of hope for those who feel their pain will never end.

Married at just twelve to Lorenzo Ponziani, Frances harbored a deep desire for monastic life. However, she embraced her marital role with grace, balancing her spiritual aspirations with her duties as a wife and mother. The couple was blessed with three children, but tragedy soon struck Frances, her family, and all of 15th-century Rome in the form of plague.

Frances lost two beloved children to the plague. Later, she lost her husband as well. Her loss plunged her into deep mourning, filled with intense suffering and spiritual questioning. But in that pain, she found a way to continually offer all her grief, and all of herself, to God. And God showed her a way forward. Frances turned sorrow into service, seeing the face of her lost children in the suffering poor and sick of Rome. She would go on to found the Oblates of Mary, a community of women dedicated to serving the poor. 

When you are grieving, it feels like the last thing you need is advice. And there is truth in that. Perhaps the only advice that is useful is, “Give yourself time to mourn, and talk to God.”

God loves you, and he will help you through whatever it is that you’re going through, even if that simply means mourning with you.


I will give myself time and space to mourn.

This reflection is brought to you from book title.

Patron Saint of: Benedictine Oblates, Automobile Drivers, and Widows

Feast Day: March 9

Feast Day Shared By: Saint Catherine of Bologna and Saint Francesca Romana

Canonized: 1608

Canonized By: Pope Paul V

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