Steps to Sainthood
Blessed Frances Schervier radiated beauty as she walked through the streets of Aachen, Germany, in the 1850s, totally loving the poor and seeing God in and through their suffering. Prophetically she had been given the name of Frances at her baptism; and like St. Francis of Assisi, was passionate about serving those most in need. As a child she would slip into her father’s factory, which was located on the grounds of their large home, and give gifts of socks and gloves (which she had knitted herself) to the children who worked long hours in horrific conditions at the dawn of the industrial revolution.
Always a Risk Taker
Frances was determined and discerning . . . goddaughter of the Emperor of Prussia, daughter of an aristocrat who fled the French Revolution for the safety of Germany, she was being prepared for a sheltered, cultured and comfortable future. This would not come to be. Instead Frances was always risking her health and reputation to bring compassion and hope to women in prostitution, homeless and hungry people, convicted felons and abused children. Frances of Aachen, as she is called to this day, was a person happily grounded in her local community, spending many hours each day in her parish’s soup kitchen. There she would prepare and serve meals to the intergenerational crowds of people who would come to be fed.
A Woman of Action and Contemplation
Her active care for the poor was interwoven with her deep prayer life. It was Frances’ total trust in God that energized her. Because of her relationship with God she found herself falling totally in love with people, especially those most neglected (she called it “a holy fire”). After joining a group of lay Franciscans and receiving advice from a close friend, she gathered together several likeminded women and began a religious Congregation on the Feast of Pentecost. They dedicated themselves to loving and serving the poor.
As hundreds of women joined the new group of Sisters, Frances remained focused and had the courage and confidence to move the new Congregation wherever the Spirit led. That is why she traveled twice to the U.S. and experienced the suffering of the new immigrants. As a result she dispatched many Sisters to the U.S. where they established (five) hospitals before the turn of the century. Frances is also one of the few women in spiritual history that was instrumental in founding a men’s Congregation, the Brothers of the Poor of St. Francis .
Ever New Roots
More than 165 years later, the Daughters of Blessed Frances, in addition to Germany and Belgium, have begun new roots in the U.S., Italy, Brazil, Senegal and the Philippines. The Sisters along with their lay Associates and friends minister on five continents and are walking together to support Frances’ sacred journey to sainthood.
We also invite you to join us - by praying with us the Litany and Novena to Blessed Frances.
In many ways, Frances was an ordinary person like us – yet through the grace of God, she did extraordinary things. And if you find yourself drawing closer to Blessed Frances in the coming months, why not let us know? We would love to hear your story.
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Franciscan Sisters of the Poor
133 Remsen Street
Brooklyn, NY USA 11201
We look forward to hearing from you! Please, won’t you join with us in prayer during this special time? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org so so you can receive updates on the Canonization journey!
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