If you are driving on the highway and get lost, or have some car trouble, you might ask St. Frances of Rome to intercede for you.
Pope Pius XI in 1925 named her patron saint of automobile drivers based on the legend that St. Frances’ guardian angel carried a lantern before her on evening journeys so she would not fall. Now every March 9th, on St. Frances’ feast day, autos queue up for a blessing next to Santa Maria Nova, the church in Rome where the saint is buried. Legend or not, it fits as an allegory of St. Frances’ contribution to the Church.
Born in 1384, St. Frances lived during a dark period in the Church’s history, the time of the Western Schism (1378-1417) when popes and antipopes ruptured ecclesial communion by their bickering. Instead of following God’s will and shepherding the flock, these prelates vied for power and position. They did not heed God’s warning through the prophet Ezekiel: “Should not shepherds pasture the flock? You consumed milk, wore wool, and slaughtered fatlings, but the flock you did not pasture. You did not strengthen the weak nor heal the sick nor bind up the injured. You did not bring back the stray or seek the lost but ruled them harshly and brutally. So they were scattered for lack of a shepherd, and became food for all the wild beasts” (34:2-5).
Read more at OSV.com…