Blessed Mary Frances Schervier was a descendant of a distinguished family in the old imperial city of Aachen or Aix-la-Chapelle.

Her hopes to enter a religious order were cut short by the early death of her mother in 1832, when Frances was only 13 years old. It fell upon Mary Frances to remain at home and attend to the household. She found ways, however, to care for the poor and the sick.

She was an active member of several benevolent societies of women and what was known as St John’s soup kitchen, a charitable enterprise organized to feed the needy. her kindness and generosity led one of her family’s servants to remark, “One of these days the child will have dragged everything out of the house.”

In 1844, Mary Frances joined the Third Order of St. Francis and she and four other young women resolved to lead a community life. They found a dwelling at the old city gate of St James and took possession of their first religious abode on the eve of the feast of St Francis in 1845. Prayer and works of mercy were their principal occupation. In 1851, Mother Frances and her companions received the religious habit. Together they formed the Sisters of the Poor of St. Francis.

The first foundation of the Sisters of the Poor of St. Francis in the United States was made in 1858. Twice Mother Frances came to the US, the first time in 1863 and the second time in 1868. During her first sojourn in this country, she joined her sisters in ministering to wounded soldiers of the Civil War and to the sick, the homeless, and the orphaned.

The second time, while visiting the various institutions conducted by her sisters, Blessed Mary Frances Schervier also lent a helping hand in caring for the sick, the aged and the poor. Her foundation increased visibly, and to this day it enjoys the special blessing of Divine Providence. When she died Dec. 14, 1876, Blessed Mary Frances Schervier was mourned by thousands of daughters in religion as well as by the poor, and was venerated as a saint.

Adapted by A. J. Valentini from: Blessed Mary Frances Schervier. (n.d.). Roman Catholic Saints. Retrieved Dec. 8, 2020, from