Spirituality for Today – November 2008 – Volume 13, Issue 4

Saint of the Month

Bl. Frances Siedliska

A colorized black and white photo of Bl. Frances SiedliskaFrances was born to the landowning family of Adolf and Cecylia Siedliski in Roszkowa Wola on November 12, 1842. She received a thorough education at home, but her family did not attach much significance to religion . Although her parents were not an example of piety, Frances approached faith very seriously since her childhood. At the age of 13, she took the First Holy Communion and offered her life to God. At 18, she traveled with her mother to spas in Austria, Germany, France and Switzerland, to improve her health which was deteriorating due to tuberculosis. During the 1863 January Uprising she stayed away from Poland. She understood the insurgency was a national tragedy and feared for her father who was active in the independence movement.

Frances returned to Poland in 1865. She worked as a volunteer, promoting education, religious and moral upbringing in Polish society. She combined her commitment with a renewed faith. She decided to found a new order of sisters whose patron would be Mother Mary in her silent effort and happiness of family life in Nazareth.

Pope Pius IX gave her order his blessing on October 1, 1873. However, it was impossible to create a congregation in the divided Poland. Czarist authorities criminalized monastic orders in retribution for their support of the uprising. So Frances founded the order in Rome. The first community started work in December 1875. In 1885 she went to the U.S. with 11 sisters – over half of the whole congregation – to work among Polish Americans. During her lifetime the order's communities were also created in London and Paris.

Frances Siedliska died in Rome on November 21, 1902. She was beatified on April 23, 1989.

Good Lord,
You gave Bl. Frances Siedliska inspiration
for founding a monastic congregation
that is filled with the spirit of the same love
that inspired the Holy Family.
Let it fill our families too.
Through Christ, our Lord. Amen

From Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives