St Mary Frances of the Five Wounds

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Saint Mary Frances

Saint Mary Frances of the Five Wounds
Saint Marie-Francoise des Cinq Plaies

Feast Day – October 6

 

Saint Anna Maria Rosa, as Saint Mary Frances was christened, was born in Naples in 1715 of a family that belonged to the middle class of society. Her mother, a devout and gentle woman, who had much to contend with from her hot-tempered husband, was quite worried before the birth of this child. But St John Joseph of the Cross, who lived in Naples at that time, calmed her and recommended special care of the child, as it was destined to attain to great holiness.

Saint Mary Frances was scarcely 4 years old when she began to spend hours in prayer, and sometimes arose at night for this purpose. Such was her desire to know the truths of the Catholic Faith, that an angel appeared to her and instructed her regularly.

Saint Mary Frances had not yet attained her 7th year when she desired to receive holy Communion. Her pastor marveled at her knowledge of the Faith, as well as her ardent desire for the Bread of Angels, and felt that he could not deny her the privilege. In fact, it was not long before he permitted her to receive daily.

Meanwhile, although physically of a very delicate constitution, the little saint was making herself useful to her parents by assisting them in their work. Her father, a weaver of gold lace, was anxious to have his children help as early as possible. He found that Saint Mary Frances was not only the most willing but also the most skilled in the work.

Mary Frances was 16 years old when a rich young man asked her father for her hand. Rejoicing at the favorable prospect, her father at once gave his consent.

But when he told Mary Frances about it, he was amazed to hear her, who had never contradicted him, declare her firm intention of espousing only her heavenly Bridegroom, and asking his permission to become a Tertiary. He became so enraged that he seized a rope and whipped the delicate girl unmercifully, until her mother intervened. He then locked her in a room, where she received only bread and water, and no one was permitted to speak to her.