To be perfectly honest, I approached writing my first piece for Word on Fire Ministries with a bit of trepidation — the old fear and trembling — both because I wanted to do right by this saint, and because it’s my first piece for Word on Fire Ministries, and I wanted to do right by them, too. And of course, I wanted to do right by the readers.
Fortunately, it’s really hard to write badly about someone as interesting and relatable as St. Frances of Rome, whose feastday is today. As a Benedictine Oblate, I’ve come to love Francis as our patron, but she is also someone who speaks to my introversion, and to some of the harsher realities of life I’ve had to deal with when my dreams were all so near and dear and then suddenly tumbled. Subsequently, I’ve learned a lot from this wonderful saint who was a nun-wannabe who became a wife, a mother, daughter-in-law public Christian, but not without real struggles. Hmmm. No wonder I like her so much!
In many ways, Frances of Rome is a perfect model for those times when we are forced to adjust our expectations, or adapt to new realities not exactly to our tastes. She sought a cloister cell; she got a castle. She hated going out in society; she practically invented social work. Once Frances figured out how to consent to God’s plan, and to co-operate with grace, there was nothing to look back upon with regret.
For us, Frances’ companionship is an antidote for those times we are stricken with a toxic case of the “if onlys”—if only I’d taken that scholarship; if only I’d fought harder for what I wanted; if only I had done this, instead of that—and risk losing sight of what we are actually being offered…