St. Frances was born in Rome of a noble family in 1384. She wanted to become a nun, but in obedience to her parents, she married Alonzo Ponziano at the age of 13. In the 40 years they lived together there was never a misunderstanding between them. She led a life of prayer and sacrifice, visiting the sick and assisting the poor. In due time, she gave birth to John Baptist, Evangelist, and Agnes, whom she educated in the Christian faith.

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Frances suffered many trials with patience and faith, including the kidnapping of little John and the early death of Evangelist and Agnes. By kindness and patience, she won the affection of her daughter-in-law Mobilia, who had formerly treated her with contempt. In 1425, Frances founded the Oblate Congregation of Tor de Specchi, dedicated to God and to the service of the poor. After the death of her husband, she received the religious habit and lived in the community as the lowest of the sisters. She died in 1440 and was buried in the church of Santa Maria Nuova in Rome, which was renamed after her.