St. Frances of Rome was born in the year 1384, into a noble Roman family. Frances felt a call to religious life, but her parents forced her to marry when she was 13. As Frances got to know her husband’s family, she found that her brother-in-law’s wife felt the same calling. The two women began to work together to help the poor.
When the plague swept through Rome, one of Frances’ daughters died, and she turned more fully to charitable works. Frances gave all of her wealth to the sick and poor, and went door-to-door to raise more money.
Frances opened a wing of her home as a hospital for the poor, and she began to see the great need for more institutions to help. She sought permission from the pope to form a charitable society of women. They followed the ideals of the Benedictine order, and carried on active charity and assistance for the poor.
After she set up this society, Frances lived with her husband until his death. After he died, she moved to the society that she formed and continued her work.
Frances died in 1440, and is the patron saint of widows and motorists.