All About Frances
Born on January 3, 1819 in Aachen Germany, Frances was deeply moved by the life and mission of St. Francis of Assisi. She was born at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. The daughter of a wealthy manufacturer, Frances often visited her father’s factory to distribute food and clothing to the workers. She saw much suffering in her own neighborhood and knew that many (often children) worked in awful conditions and that many were poor. Still in her teenage years, this experience shaped her life. A prayerful young woman, she dared to dream of helping the people living in her community who were sick and poor. She wrote: “I felt a glowing flame of holy love for my neighbor.” Click here for other significant dates in the life of Frances . . .
• In 1844 Frances, an affluent, educated woman, joined a group of people who lived according to the inspiration and ideals of St. Francis, called the Secular Third Order of St. Francis. This Order was founded by St. Francis himself; it was for lay people who desired to live simply and serve the poor. At that time she and several friends served meals to the poor at a soup kitchen in their local parish church of St. Paul’s in Aachen, Germany.
• On May 11, 1845, Frances along with four friends founded a religious congregation of women dedicated to bringing healing, hope and compassion to the poor and suffering. The founding date has spiritual significance because it was the Feast of Pentecost, May 11, 1845, which celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit into the entire world.
• As Frances Schervier worked among the poor, she became more radically aware of how God was leading her and her group of friends to be instruments of compassion, hope and healing. Frances was called to a giving of herself and her congregation to healing. This gift deeply penetrated her being. "In the poor and suffering, I recognized my Divine Saviour as clearly as if I had seen Him with my bodily eyes."
• In her Autobiography, Blessed Frances writes: "It seemed to me that I had perceived from the cross that I should dedicate myself entirely to the Lord through active works of charity. A fire of holy love for my neighbor burned within me. I felt a great desire to seek out and love the Lord in the poor, the sick, and the unfortunate. I believed that I saw the Lord himself in the poor and the sick, and I was overjoyed at being able to serve and care for him."
• Frances Schervier lived a unique live of holiness and service. She was beatified on April 28, 1974. The Cause of Canonization moves forward. Click to here to learn more . . .
• Today, the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor serve in the United States, Italy, Brazil, Senegal, and the Philippines. They are healers in a broken world, continuing the charism of Blessed Frances Schervier.
Today healing continues to be the mission of the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor . . . they are called to give witness to the love of God by being instruments of compassion and hope for the community of life. Their gifts of healing also continue the early commitment of St. Francis of Assisi to the marginated of society – especially the poor, people who are abused, and victims of human trafficking. Click here to find out more about the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor ministries and where we serve . . .
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