Friday, March 9, 2012


Matthew 21: 33 – 43, 45 – 46

33 ”Hear another parable. There was a householder who planted a vineyard, and set a hedge around it, and dug a wine press in it, and built a tower, and let it out to tenants, and went into another country. 34 When the season of fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants, to get his fruit; 35 and the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. 36 Again he sent other servants, more than the first; and they did the same to them. 37 Afterward he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 38 But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.’ 39 And they took him and cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. 40 When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” 41 They said to him, ”He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons.” 42 Jesus said to them, ”Have you never read in the scriptures: ‘The very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? 43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing the fruits of it.” 45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he was speaking about them. 46 But when they tried to arrest him, they feared the multitudes, because they held him to be a prophet.



Vatican City, 9 March 2012 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican Benedict XVI received a group of prelates from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, who have recently competed their "ad limina" visit. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)
Dear Brother Bishops,
I greet all of you with fraternal affection on the occasion of your visit ad limina Apostolorum. As you know, this year I wish to reflect with you on certain aspects of the evangelization of American culture in the light of the intellectual and ethical challenges of the present moment.
In our previous meetings I acknowledged our concern about threats to freedom of conscience, religion and worship which need to be addressed urgently, so that all men and women of faith, and the institutions they inspire, can act in accordance with their deepest moral convictions. In this talk I would like to discuss another serious issue which you raised with me during my Pastoral Visit to America, namely, the contemporary crisis of marriage and the family, and, more generally, of the Christian vision of human sexuality. It is in fact increasingly evident that a weakened appreciation of the indissolubility of the marriage covenant, and the widespread rejection of a responsible, mature sexual ethic grounded in the practice of chastity, have led to grave societal problems bearing an immense human and economic cost.
Yet, as Blessed John Paul II observed, the future of humanity passes by way of the family (cf. Familiaris Consortio, 85). Indeed, “the good that the Church and society as a whole expect from marriage and from the family founded on marriage is so great as to call for full pastoral commitment to this particular area. Marriage and the family are institutions that must be promoted and defended from every possible misrepresentation of their true nature, since whatever is injurious to them is injurious to society itself” (Sacramentum Caritatis, 29).
In this regard, particular mention must be made of the powerful political and cultural currents seeking to alter the legal definition of marriage. The Church’s conscientious effort to resist this pressure calls for a reasoned defense of marriage as a natural institution consisting of a specific communion of persons, essentially rooted in the complementarity of the sexes and oriented to procreation. Sexual differences cannot be dismissed as irrelevant to the definition of marriage. Defending the institution of marriage as a social reality is ultimately a question of justice, since it entails safeguarding the good of the entire human community and the rights of parents and children alike.
In our conversations, some of you have pointed with concern to the growing difficulties encountered in communicating the Church’s teaching on marriage and the family in its integrity, and to a decrease in the number of young people who approach the sacrament of matrimony. Certainly we must acknowledge deficiencies in the catechesis of recent decades, which failed at times to communicate the rich heritage of Catholic teaching on marriage as a natural institution elevated by Christ to the dignity of a sacrament, the vocation of Christian spouses in society and in the Church, and the practice of marital chastity. This teaching, stated with increasing clarity by the post-conciliar magisterium and comprehensively presented in both the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, needs to be restored to its proper place in preaching and catechetical instruction.
On the practical level, marriage preparation programs must be carefully reviewed to ensure that there is greater concentration on their catechetical component and their presentation of the social and ecclesial responsibilities entailed by Christian marriage. In this context we cannot overlook the serious pastoral problem presented by the widespread practice of cohabitation, often by couples who seem unaware that it is gravely sinful, not to mention damaging to the stability of society. I encourage your efforts to develop clear pastoral and liturgical norms for the worthy celebration of matrimony which embody an unambiguous witness to the objective demands of Christian morality, while showing sensitivity and concern for young couples.
Here too I would express my appreciation of the pastoral programs which you are promoting in your Dioceses and, in particular, the clear and authoritative presentation of the Church’s teaching found in your 2009 Letter Marriage: Love and Life in the Divine Plan. I also appreciate all that your parishes, schools and charitable agencies do daily to support families and to reach out to those in difficult marital situations, especially the divorced and separated, single parents, teenage mothers and women considering abortion, as well as children suffering the tragic effects of family breakdown.
In this great pastoral effort there is an urgent need for the entire Christian community to recover an appreciation of the virtue of chastity. The integrating and liberating function of this virtue (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2338-2343) should be emphasized by a formation of the heart, which presents the Christian understanding of sexuality as a source of genuine freedom, happiness and the fulfilment of our fundamental and innate human vocation to love. It is not merely a question of presenting arguments, but of appealing to an integrated, consistent and uplifting vision of human sexuality. The richness of this vision is more sound and appealing than the permissive ideologies exalted in some quarters; these in fact constitute a powerful and destructive form of counter-catechesis for the young.
Young people need to encounter the Church’s teaching in its integrity, challenging and countercultural as that teaching may be; more importantly, they need to see it embodied by faithful married couples who bear convincing witness to its truth. They also need to be supported as they struggle to make wise choices at a difficult and confusing time in their lives. Chastity, as the Catechism reminds us, involves an ongoing “apprenticeship in self-mastery which is a training in human freedom” (2339). In a society which increasingly tends to misunderstand and even ridicule this essential dimension of Christian teaching, young people need to be reassured that “if we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, absolutely nothing, of what makes life free, beautiful and great” (Homily, Inaugural Mass of the Pontificate, 24 April 2005).
Let me conclude by recalling that all our efforts in this area are ultimately concerned with the good of children, who have a fundamental right to grow up with a healthy understanding of sexuality and its proper place in human relationships. Children are the greatest treasure and the future of every society: truly caring for them means recognizing our responsibility to teach, defend and live the moral virtues which are the key to human fulfillment. It is my hope that the Church in the United States, however chastened by the events of the past decade, will persevere in its historic mission of educating the young and thus contribute to the consolidation of that sound family life which is the surest guarantee of intergenerational solidarity and the health of society as a whole.
I now commend you and your brother Bishops, with the flock entrusted to your pastoral care, to the loving intercession of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. To all of you I willingly impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of wisdom, strength and peace in the Lord.

Vatican City, 9 March 2012 (VIS) - This morning Benedict XVI received 1,300 priests and deacons who are participating in an annual course on the "internal forum" organised by the Apostolic Penitentiary.
Benedict XVI underscored the importance of adequate theological, spiritual and canonical preparation for confessors, noting that the Sacrament of Reconciliation is essential to the life of faith and is closely associated with the announcement of the Gospel. "The Sacraments and the announcement of the Word must, in fact never be seen as separate from one another", he said. "The priest represents Christ, the Envoy of the Father, and continues His mission through 'word' and 'Sacrament', in the totality of body and soul, of sign and word".
Thus sacramental Confession is an important aspect of new evangelisation. "True conversion of hearts, which means opening ourselves to the transforming and regenerative action of God, is the 'motor' of all reform and turns into an authentic force for evangelisation. During Confession, the repentant sinner, thanks to the gratuitous action of divine Mercy, is justified, forgiven and sanctified. ... Only those who allow themselves to be profoundly renewed by divine Grace can internalise and therefore announce the novelty of the Gospel". All the saints of history bear witness to this close relationship between sanctity and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. New evangelisation itself "draws life blood from the sanctity of the sons and daughters of the Church, from the daily process of individual and community conversion, conforming itself ever more profoundly to Christ".
The Pope reminded his audience that, in administering the Sacrament of Penance, priests are instruments facilitating the meeting between mankind and God. The repentant sinner feels a profound desire to change, to receive mercy, to re-experience, through the Sacrament, "the encounter and embrace of Christ.
"Thus you will", the Holy Father added, "become collaborators and protagonists of as many possible 'new beginnings' as sinners you encounter. ... New evangelisation also begins in the confessional, in the mysterious encounter between man's endless plea ... and the mercy of God, which is the only adequate response to humankind’s need for the infinite". If the faithful are truly able to experience the mercy of Christ in the Sacrament "they will become credible witnesses of sanctity, which is the goal of new evangelisation".
The Pope went on to explain that these questions become even more critical when the people involved are priests who, to collaborate in new evangelisation, must be the first to renew an awareness of themselves as sinners, and of their need to seek sacramental forgiveness in order to renew their encounter with Christ.
In conclusion Benedict XVI exhorted his listeners to ensure "that the novelty of Christ is always the focus of, and the reason for, your priestly lives, so that the people who meet you may, through your ministry, proclaim as Andrew and John did that 'we have found the Messiah'. Thus each Confession, from which each Christian will emerge renewed, will represent a step forward for new evangelisation".


Vatican City, 9 March 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father has sent a telegram of condolence to Cardinal Ricardo. J. Vidal, archbishop emeritus of Cebu, Philippines, for the death of Cardinal Jose T. Sanchez, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Clergy. Cardinal Sanchez died this morning in Manila at the age of 91.
In the text of his telegram Benedict XVI gratefully recalls "the late cardinal's dedicated service to the Lord as a priest and bishop in his native country, as well as our service together in the Roman Curia during the pontificate of Blessed John Paul II". The Pope commends Cardinal Sanchez's "noble soul" to the Lord and prays "that his witness will inspire others to dedicate their lives to the service of the Lord and His Holy Church, especially in the priesthood".


Vatican City, 9 March 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience:
- Eight prelates of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, on their "ad limina" visit:
- Archbishop George Joseph Lucas of Omaha, accompanied by Archbishop emeritus Elden Francis Curtiss.
- Bishop William J. Dendinger of Grand Island.
- Bishop Fabian Wendelin Bruskewitz of Lincoln.
- Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas.
- Bishop John B. Brungardt of Dodge City.
- Bishop Michael Owen Jackels of Wichita.
- Bishop-elect Edward J. Weisenburger of Salina



WEBSITE OF MOTHERS PRAYERS- Mothers Prayers was started in England in November 1995 and has spread rapidly throughout the world with contacts in over 90 Countries and has the approval, support and blessing of Christian leaders of all denominations.
There are now thousands of groups around the world. Two grandmothers, Veronica and her sister- in- law Sandra, felt led by the Lord to start Mothers Prayers and to pray in a special way for their children
They felt that they should bring all the pain and the worries they had for their children to Him and to trust in His words 'Ask and you will receive'.;
Through this promise, they understood that the Lord is just waiting to take away pain and to bless and heal them and their children when they come to Him in Faith.
During these years there have been many, many wonderful answers to prayers including children coming off drugs, children returning home after being absent for many years, improvements in children's health and relationships (in the family and at school).
The mothers also have been blessed and have experienced a great peace.

Our Prayer

Lord Jesus, we come before you as mothers, wanting you to bless our children, and all children throughout the world.
We thank you for our children - they are a precious gift to us. Help us, always to remember this, especially when they are in difficulties
Lord, they live in a troubled world - a world that does not always acknowledge you, - a world that may sometimes cause them to be laughed at if they admit to belief in you.
Help them to be strong, Lord. Helps us to know that you are always with us - sharing in the joys and in the sorrows, joining us in the laughter and weeping with us in the pain.
Please give us all the graces we need, to fulfil your plans for our lives and for our duties in our families. You are Almighty God. You can change things.
So we turn to you in faith and love knowing that you will answer our prayers. Lord let us always remember how much you love us and our children and how you urge us to come to you with our problems.


Bound and helpless, the little girl’s grandparents forced to witness the violence. The doctors refused to lend aid. The police arrest an accomplice, the officer responsible vanishes. Meanwhile, the country celebrated the International Women's Day, with demonstrations and lectures. Awards given to some icons in the struggle for women rights.

Lahore (AsiaNews) - A 14 year old Christian girl was raped by a policeman with an accomplice, at gin point, while in the next room, bound and gagged, her grandparents felt powerless to intervene. The incident occurred on the night between 7 and 8 March in Sheikhupura district, Punjab province, while around the world events were held to celebrate International Women's Day. Even in Pakistan seminars and meetings were held, even President Asif Ali Zardari, yesterday, signed a law to protect women.

On the evening of March 7, 14 year old Kiran (*), originally from Jaranwala, paid a visit to her grandparents who live in the village of Malowal, in a small house not far from the property of a superintendent of police. On the night Nawaz Wahla, a law enforcement official, along with an accomplice Mehboob, a milkman, jumped the fence and broke into the house. According to the newspaper The Express Tribune reports they tied up the grandparents and repeatedly raped the girl, at gun point.

Once she had escaped, Kiran released the grandparents who have accompanied her to the hospital for medical treatment, however, neither the doctors nor the police wanted to bring relief to the Christian girl, or take action to catch the perpetrators of violence. Only the official opening of the investigation, initiated by a diligent judge allowed the detention of Mehboob - the accomplice - while Nawaz has so far eluded capture.

Yesterday, March 8, meanwhile, across Pakistan events to commemorate International Women's Day were held. In the capital Islamabad, women's organizations sponsored a seminar to enhance the value and role of women in the world. Simultaneously, President Asif Ali Zardari ratified the Law on the National Commission, to assess the status of women's rights in the country, and he ensured that the body will play a crucial role in safeguarding and protecting the rights of women.

However, women's associations contest the claims of institutions emphasizing that laws are not enough, if they are not enforced. In a public meeting held yesterday in Faisalabad, organized by the Association of Women for Awareness and Motivation (Awam), activists pointed out that "new and more laws are not enough", but it is the government that "in practice must ensure" the protection of women and their equal rights. Peter Jacob, executive secretary of the National Commission for Justice and Peace Commission of the Catholic Church (NCJP) was also among the participants and noted that "the number of attacks against women in Pakistan is four times higher than the cases that reported "and many crimes" based on sex pass in silence. "

In Multan, organizations of Catholic women - along with other women's movements - have sponsored a demonstration in the streets. Sr. Margaret, among the participants at the event, stressed that "to celebrate woman, we must also recognize the importance of women". The nun adds that "although there are rules against domestic violence and acid attacks", so far "measures against men" have not been taken. And many women do not even know the existence of the law."

Among the representatives of Pakistani women celebrated today, are 13 year old Malala Yousafzai, a young activist who has fought against aggression of the Taliban in the Swat valley, awarded by the civil society and government. On the Catholic front honors go to Zenobia Richards, a victim of the demolition of a Catholic institution Gosh-e-Aman in Lahore, where she lost her home and many of her possessions. Thanks to the Masihi Foundation she has found a new home.

* The name is fictional to protect the identity of the child.

( Shafique Khokhar collaborated)


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT
8 Mar 2012

Sr Mary Leahy says being
Chaplain to Seafarers is a
privilege and a joy.
Picture courtesy
the Catholic Weekly
Irish-born Josephite, Sister Mary Leahy will have no problem finding somewhere to put the Order of Australia Medal she was awarded earlier this year in recognition of her 20 years service with the Archdiocese of Sydney's Stella Maris Apostleship of the Sea as chaplain to seafarers at the Port of Botany.
Presented with a surprise gift of a beautifully crafted jewellery box last week from a group of retired wharfies who are veteran members of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), she says she was overwhelmed and delighted. She was also touched by the inscription across the box which said: to a "True Working Class Hero."
"I certainly I have never considered myself a hero but I am charmed with the gift. I've never had a jewellery box before and this one is gorgeous. I'll certainly keep my OAM in there and maybe even my ashes one day will go in there as well!" she says laughing.
Although awarded the OAM in January, Sr Mary will have to wait until May when a special presentation ceremony will be held at Government House in Sydney for recipients of this year's Australia Day honours.
Among those who will proudly watch as she receives her award will be her elder sister, Geraldine who is also a Josephite and as a teacher, is currently based in Wyoming on the Central Coast.
"Geraldine joined the Sisters of St Joseph and became a teacher. I followed in her footsteps and was professed as a Josephite in 1983 but instead of teaching, I studied nursing at St Vincent's Hospital in Darlinghurst. Then several years later, I studied for a degree in Theology part time and in 1992, I was appointed chaplain at Botany," she explains.
Full of humour, kindness and down to earth practicality, Sr Mary says it is a great privilege to minister to seafarers, many of whom are lonely and isolated, and in desperate need of a friendly face.
"Usually they are in Sydney just 12 hours and although they are usually allowed to disembark, security restrictions since 9/11 mean they can't go far. They also have little money and are often very homesick."

Sister Mary Leahy,
Chaplain to the Port
of Botany
Sr Mary has got to know many of today's multi-cultural crews over the years and is always ready to listen as they talk and tell her their troubles. She offers them comfort and strength and also practical help in terms of clothes and magazines.
"Often they apply for the job wearing their best clothes but that is all they have with them, so donations of clothes are always needed and they love magazines. Even when they don't speak English a magazine is a great distraction and something they really enjoy."
Sr Mary is well known throughout the Port not only by the captains and multicultural crews of containerships, tankers and cargo vessels that regularly dock there, but by the port's stevedores and maritime workers.
"I love what I do," she says but admits she was overwhelmed and humbled not only by her Australia Day Honour but also by the surprise gift given to her at last week's national conference of the MUA.
"As well as the national conference, the union was also commemorating its 140th anniversary and along with many people, I was invited to the celebratory dinner. And it was during that evening one of the retired wharfies gave me the lovely jewellery box. It wasn't a formal presentation or anything like that. I have just been part of their lives and they mine for so many years," she says.

Port Botany where Sr Mary Leahy offers pastoral
and practical support
With a smile she decides the gift "might be in recognition of the OAM bit." Then laughing says: "Whatever the reason, it was just lovely and I love them to bits."
The Stella Maris Apostleship of the Sea office from where Sr Mary works is housed at the Sydney Seafarers' Centre Botany, which is also home to the Sydney Port Welfare Committee and the International Transport Federation, which represents more than 600 trade unions from 150 countries dedicated to protecting transport workers including seafarers worldwide.
"Australian seamen have a strong union and generally, very good working conditions. But for those from other countries there are usually no unions and few protections. These men are very vulnerable and many are so grateful to have as job, they are afraid to speak out for fear of losing it, despite suffering physical, emotional and in some instances, sexual abuse."
Sr Mary does what she can to give these men support, help, comfort and pastoral care. She also frequently speaks out on their behalf and liases with seafarer chaplaincies and other organisations for seamen worldwide.
To donate much-needed clothes or magazines for the seafarers Sr Mary helps and supports, contact her by email at


Cisa News REPORT
NAIROBI, March 06, 2012 (CISA) -Scholars from theological institutions in East Africa are challenging Bible publishers, distributors and translators to produce more texts in Braille, sign language and audio, to improve training and integration of disabled persons.
The 30 academicians from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania gathered from February 29 to March 01 in Nairobi to draw guidelines for teaching disabilities studies in theology schools.
“There are some Braille Bibles, but they are not dispersed evenly or far enough. I think the United Bible Society together with the Bible Society of Kenya should be thinking of Braille or audio Bibles,” the Rev Godffrey Ngumi, General Secretary of the Association of Theological Institutions told ENInews.
According to Ngumi, this move is long overdue. “I am talking about the Bible because it is one of the central texts in theological education,” said Ngumi.
Samuel Kabue, executive secretary of Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network (EDAN), a project of the World Council of Churches (WCC), which was an organizer of the meeting, said the guidelines were being developed to stimulate discussion.
“We realized that if we can address this concern to theological institutions, so that they can begin teaching something on disability those ministers would be more prepared when they encounter disabled people in the field,” he said in an interview.
According to Kabue, persons with disabilities have common concerns like those expressed in liberation and feminist theologies. “We now see an emerging liberation theology for people with disability. It is because they are a marginalized group within the church and we are trying to raise their voice,” he said.
The courses are being designed to enable disabled persons to use their talents and abilities, so that they can have chances like any other human being, according to Professor Joseph Galgalo, vice-chancellor of St Paul’s University, an ecumenical institution in the Limuru area near Nairobi.
“They should be part of society and in the church, they should be part of the body of Christ and recognized as such,” said Galgalo.


Agenzia Fides REPORT - The representatives of the Peruvian Episcopal Conference (CEP) and the National Penitentiary Institute of Peru (INPE) signed an agreement renewing the cooperation ties between the two institutions. The meeting was held on March 7 in the auditorium of the Episcopal Conference, in Lima, in the presence of His Exc. Mgr. Salvador PiƱeiro, Archbishop of Ayacucho and President of the Peruvian Episcopal Conference; Juan Jimenez Mayor, Minister of Justice; Jose Luis Perez Guadalupe, head of INPE.
Objective of the Agreement is to promote, encourage and develop the religious support and complementary activities related to the social reintegration of inmates housed in prisons in the country, through the action of prison Pastoral care in each ecclesiastical jurisdiction. At the same time, through the directors of prisons and in coordination with the Pastoral Commission of the Catholic Church, the mechanisms and requirements for the program to work for human development and personal development will be carefully analized, led by the Pastoral Commission, in order to improve the treatment of prisoners, males and females, and their participation should be considered in the psychological and social relationships.
The note sent by the Episcopal Conference of Peru to Fides concludes that these, among others, are the commitments that unite for the care of each brother and sister, made in the image of God with equal dignity, which for various reasons, end up in prisons in Peru. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 09/03/2012)


St. Dominic Savio
Feast: March 9

Feast Day:March 9
April 2, 1842(1842-04-02), San Giovanni, a frazione of Riva presso Chieri, Piedmont, Italy
Died:March 9, 1857, Mondonio, a frazione of Castelnuovo d’Asti (today Castelnuovo Don Bosco), Piedmont, Italy
12 June 1954 by Pope Pius XII
Major Shrine:The Basilica of Mary, Help of Christians in Turin (his tomb)
Patron of:choirboys, falsely accused people, juvenile delinquents, Pueri Cantores
Here is a boy-saint who died at the age of fifteen, was one of the great hopes of St. John Bosco for the future of his congregation, and was canonized in 1954.
He was one of ten children of Carlo and Birgitta Savio. Carlo was a blacksmith and Birgitta was a seamstress. When Don Bosco was looking for young men to train as priests for his Salesian Order, his parish priest suggested Dominic Savio. Dominic became more than a credit to Don Bosco's school—he single-handedly organized those who were to be the nucleus of Don Bosco's order.
St. Dominic Savio was twelve when he met Don Bosco and organized a group of boys into the Company of the Immaculate Conception. Besides its religious purpose, the boys swept and took care of the school and looked after the boys that no one seemed to pay any attention to. When, in 1859, Don Bosco chose the young men to be the first members of his congregation, all of them had been members of Dominic's Company.
For all that, Dominic was a normal, high-spirited boy who sometimes got into trouble with his teachers because he would often break out laughing. However, he was generally well disciplined and gradually gained the respect of the tougher boys in Don Bosco's school.
In other circumstances, Dominic might have become a little self-righteous snob, but Don Bosco showed him the heroism of the ordinary and the sanctity of common sense. "Religion must be about us as the air we breathe," Don Bosco would say, and Dominic Savio wore holiness like the clothes on his back.
He called his long hours of prayer "his distractions." In 1857, at the age of fifteen, he caught tuberculosis and was sent home to recover. On the evening of March 9, he asked his father to say the prayers for the dying. His face lit up with an intense joy and he said to his father: "I am seeing most wonderful things!" These were his last words.
Thought for the Day: "I can't do big things," St. Dominic Savio once said, "but I want everything to be for the glory of God." His was the way of the ordinary: cheerfulness, fidelity in little things, helping others, playing games, obeying his superiors. This heroism in little things is the stuff of holiness.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)



St. Frances of Rome
Feast: March 9

Feast Day:March 9
1384, Rome
Died: March 9, 1440, Rome
1608, Rome by Pope Paul V
Major Shrine:Santa Francesca Romana Church, Romea
Patron of: Benedictine oblates; automobile drivers
One of the greatest mystics of the fifteenth century; born at Rome, of a noble family, in 1384; died there, 9 March, 1440.
Her youthful desire was to enter religion, but at her father's wish she married, at the age of twelve, Lorenzo de' Ponziani. Among her children we know of Battista, who carried on the family name, Evangelista, a child of great gifts (d. 1411), and Agnes (d. 1413). Frances was remarkable for her charity to the poor, and her zeal for souls. She won away many Roman ladies from a life of frivolity, and united them in an association of oblates attached to the White Benedictine monastery of Santa Maria Nuova; later they became the Benedictine Oblate Congregation of Tor di Specchi (25 March, 1433) which was approved by Eugene IV (4 July, 1433). Its members led the life of religious, but without the strict cloister or formal vows, and gave themselves up to prayer and good works. With her husband's consent Frances practiced continency, and advanced in a life of contemplation. Her visions often assumed the form of drama enacted for her by heavenly personages. She had the gift of miracles and ecstasy, we well as the bodily vision of her guardian angel, had revelations concerning purgatory and hell, and foretold the ending of the Western Schism. She could read the secrets of consciences and detect plots of diabolical origin. She was remarkable for her humility and detachment, her obedience and patience, exemplified on the occasion ofher husband's banishment, the captivity of Battista, her sons' death, and the loss of all herproperty.
On the death of her husband (1436) she retired among her oblates at Tor di Specchi, seeking admission for charity's sake, and was made superior. On the occasion of a visit to her son, she fell ill and died on the day she had foretold. Her canonization was preceded by three processes (1440, 1443, 1451) and Paul V declared her a saint on 9 May, 1608, assigning 9 March as her feast day. Long before that, however, the faithful were wont to venerate her body in the church of Santa Maria Nuova in the Roman Forum, now known as the church of Santa Francesca Romana.

(Taken From Catholic Encyclopedia)