Against all odds...
"Then Jesus said to his disciples, 'Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.'" Matthew 16, 24
The life of St. Frances:
Young Francesca studies at the School of Arluno, run by the Daughters of the Sacred Heart. There, she develops a singular affection to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Before her graduation, she requests acceptance in the religious order. However, her request is denied, presumably due to her frail health.
With her teaching diploma in hand, Frances goes back to her village and teaches in the parish school. In 1870, she contracts smallpox as she offered assistance through the epidemic which raged in the area. She recovers unexpectedly and takes this recovery as a definite proof that she is to embrace the religious life. Sadly, her second attempt with the Canossian Sisters of Crema is unsuccessful as well.
But the Lord has something in store for the young woman. The diocesian authorities are seeking an obedient and capable person to take charge of a girl's orphanage, which is administered poorly by two laywomen. The idea is to transform the orphanage into a religious institute. This enables Frances, along with five other women who are serving at the orphanage, to take religious vows. However, the orphanage's situation doesn't improve, due to the pride of the two administrators, who spread slander and malicious gossip about Frances. This situation lasts for ten years, until 1880, before the Bishop decides to close the orphanage, convinced that it could never be made into a real religious community, because of the obstinacy of the two older women.
The Bishop then asks Frances to found a new religious missionary institute with the group of young sisters from the orphanage. Thus were created the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Frances adopted Xavier as her name in religion, in reference to the patron saint of the mission, St. Francis Xavier.
Quote by St. Frances:
"Blessed is the soul who trusts in Jesus because he is lavish in his promises and generous in giving his graces and treasures." Indeed, St. Frances trusted him, obeyed him through the Church authorities, and eventually, her desire to serve him through the missions was granted.
Glorious St. Joseph, model of all those who are devoted to labor, obtain for me the grace to work conscientiously, putting the call of duty above my many sins; to work with thankfulness and joy, considering it an honor to employ and develop, by means of labor, the gifts received from God; to work with order, peace, prudence and patience, never surrendering to weariness or difficulties; to work, above all, with purity of intention, and with detachment from self, having always death before my eyes and the account which I must render of time lost, of talents wasted, of good omitted, of vain complacency in success so fatal to the work of God. All for Jesus, all for Mary, all after thy example, O Patriarch Joseph. Such shall be my motto in life and death. Amen.
1) Seal of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus: it has as its center the Heart of Christ inflamed with his love for us. Missionary Sisters are symbolized by fragile vessels roaming the oceans, seeking to be “Bearers of the love of Christ in the World.” Mary, Star of the Sea, guides them to shores where these encounters take place. At the top is the acronym A.M.G.S.S.C.J: “Ad Majorem Gloriam Sacratissimum Cordis Jesu” – All for the Greater Glory of The Sacred Heart of Jesus - CC0
2) Frances as a young foundress, 1880. She is 30 years old - CC0.
Take a moment to treasure up all these things and ponder them in your heart (cf Luke 2,19)
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone. Col 4:6