Wednesday’s Woman: Saint Franca Visalta

by Melanie on February 14, 2018

in Catholicism, Politics, Saints, Spirituality, Wednesday's Woman

The Basics: Born in 1170 in Italy; died in 1218 in Italy; cultus confirmed in 1273 by Gregory X; feast day, April 26; woman religious.

The Story: Sometimes our spiritual rigor, regardless of how well intentioned, doesn’t sit well with others. Franca, the daughter of a family in the nobility, was sent to a Benedictine abbey when she was just seven, and professed her vows a mere seven years later. She was twenty-three when the abbess died, and the community of fifty unanimously selected her as their new leader.

However, as abbess, Franca’s fasting (sometimes, it’s said, subsisting on bitter herbs) and praying life was regarded by some, including the local bishop’s sister, as too extreme. She was in essence deposed, with only one member of the congregation supporting her. That woman’s family opened a Cisterian monastery, and both women found a home there. For the rest of her life, Franca was often found in the chapel, praying for hours throughout the night.

Franca’s Wisdom: (To her community while on her deathbed:) “Be obedient, charitable, meek and humble toward each other….”

What We Can Learn from Franca: Not everyone will agree with the way we conduct our spiritual lives. What matters is not what others think of us, but of how the Lord regards our devotion.

To Learn More About Franca: Read her biography at a public tourism site.

To Learn More About Other Women Saints and Blesseds: Come back next week, or consider buying my book, Sisterhood of Saints: Daily Guidance and Inspiration.

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