Saint Frances of Rome • Playing with the SAINTS!
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Saint Frances of Rome • Playing with the SAINTS!

 

Have you ever been asked to do something you didn’t want to do? That’s what happened to St. Frances of Rome. She wanted to be a nun, but her father wanted her to get married. Could she find a way to serve God anyway?

 

by Christine Henderson

 

Did you know that at one time it was legal for fathers to sell their children into slavery or kill them? Children HAD to do whatever they were told, or else.

What do you want to be when you grow up? A doctor? A firefighter? We all make plans when we are young as to what we will do as a grown up, though our plans often change. Well, St. Frances of Rome planned to be a nun. She was extremely stubborn and not about to change her mind. But her father had other ideas. When she turned thirteen he announced to Frances that she would marry a wealthy young man. All the arrangements had been made. (Remember, the father had the final word about his children.)

“What? I don’t want to. I want to be a nun!” Frances stubbornly protested. She sulked, moped, and complained. Nonstop she begged God not to let the marriage happen. One day she was talking with a priest who said to her, “Are you wanting to do God’s will or are you wanting God to do your will?”

Frances married the young man—but not joyfully. Up until the last minute, she prayed for the marriage to not occur. But it did. To make matters even tougher, the newly married couple lived with his parents and his brother’s family. Being a wealthy family meant parties and fancy events to attend. Frances hated these! She wanted to spend her days in prayer and making sacrifices. (Ever have your parents tell you to come help when you were in the middle of something YOU wanted to do?) Frances would be all ready to fast for the day and instead be told she must go to a feast!

One day she discovered that her sister-in-law had also wanted to be a nun. The two began to pray together, visit the sick, feed the poor, and visit those in prison. With the two supporting one another, they joyfully embraced the cross of living the wealthy lifestyle expected of them.

When famine struck the city of Rome, Frances gave away grain in the household to the hungry. This made some in the family angry, and she was forbidden to continue giving away food.

“We might not have enough for ourselves if you continue to give away our grain to the poor,” they said.

The grain was kept in storage rooms lined with straw. One day, she decided to sift through the straw of an empty room to see if she might find a few stray kernels to give away. She walked away with a small handful. Her husband noticed her sifting through the straw and looked in the room after she left. It was now FULL of grain!

Frances and her husband were blessed with three children. She ended up outliving her husband and children. The last four years of her life she lived the vocation she had always desired—that of a nun. Frances died in the year 1440.

Feast day: March 9

St. Frances of Rome, pray for us!

 

Activity: From Thorns to Flowers

With Lent beginning this week, here is a good activity to do together as a family.

Take a plant pot and fill it with dirt; DO NOT put a plant in it. Instead, take a bunch of toothpicks and stick each one in the dirt. Every time someone in your family asks you to do something and you do it without complaining, remove a toothpick from the dirt. Also remove a toothpick anytime you do something helpful or nice for someone in the family without being asked.

Hopefully, by Holy Saturday all the toothpicks are gone. Now you have a perfect pot to plant Easter flowers in!

Christine Henderson speaks to audiences of all ages while in character as a saint. Topics range from homeschooling to prayer life and everything in between.  To learn more, check out her website, PlayingwiththeSAINTS.com or email her at: PlayingwiththeSaints@gmail.com

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Follow Christine Henderson:

Wife, Mom, Homeschooling teacher, Speaker, Blogger: PlayingwiththeSAINTS.com

I am a stay at home-homeschooling mom of six kids ranging in age now from twenty-one to eleven. Currently, I am only homeschooling my two youngest-8th grade and 5th grade. Three of my children are in college and one is at the local high school doing a vocational training program in welding. It is hard for me to believe that my homeschooling journey began seventeen years ago!
I also am very involved in my local Toastmaster’s club. (This is an international public speaking organization.)  I love speaking to groups and sharing stories about the amazing saints of the Catholic church. In each presentation, I share an exciting story about a saint and then relate the story to a topic requested by the organizer. Topics range from prayer as a busy mom to making the most of the days God gives us. More information is on my website, PlayingwiththeSAINTS.com
Or, you can email me at PlayingwiththeSAINTS@gmail.com

7 Responses

  1. everydaythoughtsbybrittany@gmail.com'
    Brittany
    | Reply

    I never knew about Saint Frances and it’s such a wonderful story about surrendering to God’s endurance and will. I like the idea of the flower pot for Lent it adds a visual representation of all we are supposed to be doing to further God’s kingdom during the Lenten Season.

    • Christine Henderson
      | Reply

      That is what I love about doing this blog—I learn about so many great saints!

  2. ginny.kochis@gmail.com'
    Ginny
    | Reply

    What a great story, Christine! You are a gifted storyteller, and your activities are so creative. So happy for you in your new home!

  3. beautifulcamouflagedmess@gmail.com'
    Anni H.
    | Reply

    Such a great activity – kind of like the crown of thorns out of dough, but for a potted plant at Easter time! I really dig (haha, no pun was intended) that activity…

    Also, it was nice to “meet” St. Frances, and I was tickled to see after everything was said and done, she was allowed by God to spend time in the vocation she truly desired – as a bride of Christ. What a wonderful ending to a very fruitful life!

  4. pennysyc@aol.com'
    Leslie
    | Reply

    This is such a great reminder that there are many ways of living out a vocation and doing God’s will.

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