View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Blessed Mary Frances Shervier

On December 15 we celebrate the life of Blessed Mary Frances Schervier, a member of the Secular Franciscans who established an order, the Sisters of the Poor of St. Francis.

She was born into a distinguished family in Aachen, Germany, in 1819. She was attracted to religious life, but in 1932 her mother died and at age 13 she was forced to run the household. She became known for her generosity to the poor, and her devotion to St. Francis. In 1844, she joined the Secular Franciscan Order.

In 1845, she and four like-minded women decided to form a community devoted to caring for the poor and sick. They attracted other women, and in 1851 they formed the Sisters of the Poor with the approval of the local bishop.

The community spread, reaching the United States in 1858. Blessed Mary Frances visited the U. S. in 1863, and helped members of her congregation care for soldiers wounded in the Civil War. She visited the U. S. again in 1868.

She died December 14, 1876, but her congregation continues active in a number of ministries, including operating hospitals and homes for the elderly.

Sister Mary Frances was declared Blessed in 1974.



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