saint of the day – blessed mary frances schervier

Blessed Mary Frances Schervier’s

This woman who once wanted to become a Trappistine nun was instead led by God to establish a community of sisters who care for the sick and aged in the United States and throughout the world.

Born into a distinguished family in Aachen—then ruled by Prussia, but formerly Aix-la-Chapelle, France—Frances ran the household after her mother’s death, and established a reputation for generosity to the poor. In 1844, she became a Secular Franciscan. The next year she and four companions established a religious community devoted to caring for the poor. In 1851, the Sisters of the Poor of St. Francis were approved by the local bishop; the community soon spread. The first U.S. foundation was made in 1858.

Mother Frances visited the United States in 1863 and helped her sisters nurse soldiers wounded in the Civil War. She visited the United States again in 1868. She encouraged Philip Hoever as he was establishing the Brothers of the Poor of St. Francis.

When Mother Frances died, there were 2,500 members of her community worldwide. They are still engaged in operating hospitals and homes for the aged. Mother Mary Frances was beatified in 1974.


Reflection

The Lord confronts the evildoers, to destroy remembrance of them from the earth. When the just cry out, the Lord hears them, and from all their distress he rescues them. Psalm 34:17-18

Do we really always believe that the Lord hears the cry of the poor? Or confronts evildoers? Often it seems that evil goes unchecked. Even though it may be difficult to recognize at times, the Lord does hear our cries. He well knows of the injustices. When we are striving to live as whole-hearted disciples of Jesus, we may even be called to suffer or die for our faith. Generations of Christians have borne witness to this truth. A number of our Capuchin friars were imprisoned and tortured during World War II. We may find ourselves ridiculed or criticized for our religious beliefs and practices. But we continue to draw spiritual strength from holding fast to them, trusting in the power of Christ’s love. We will be heard. We will be rescued.

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