By Christina Hermoso
The Roman Catholic Church honors on Saturday, March 9, the memory of Saint Frances of Rome (Santa Francisca Romana), the patron saint of drivers and the founder of the Oblates of Mary.
Venerated as a role model for Christian wives, St. Frances was born in 1384 in Italy, where she became popular as one of the greatest mystics during the 15th century. She led a life of prayer, sacrifice, love for the poor, and service to the sick and the needy. She was greatly admired for her deep sense of humility, faith, obedience, and patience.
In the year 1425, she founded the Oblates of Mary, a lay congregation of pious women that gained papal approval in 1433. Now known as the Oblates of St. Frances of Rome, she served as superior of the order in 1436.
St. Frances died in 1440 and was canonized by Pope Paul V on May 9, 1608. In 1925, Pope Pius XI named her as the patron of drivers. Devotion to St. Frances grew in many parts of the world where many schools and churches were named in her honor and memory.