Blessed Frances Siedliska

Frances Siedliska was born in Poland on 12 November, 1842, into an aristocratic and wealthy family. Her parents were not particularly religious, but Frances found herself hungering for a deep spiritual life that expressed itself in the radical commitment of vowed religious life.

Frances suffered from physical illness all throughout her life. As she travelled throughout Europe seeking different medical treatments, she recognised and accepted God’s invitation to found a new congregation.

In 1873, she travelled to Rome seeking the blessing of Pope Pius IX.

In 1875, Frances founded her congregation, the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth. She was known during her religious life as Mary of Jesus the Good Shepherd.

Frances established her first community in Rome to emphasise her commitment to the universal Church. She sought to bring Christ’s love to all people and transcended ethnic boundaries, welcoming women of many nationalities into the Congregation and serving God’s people in many different countries.

She was a prolific letter-writer and our congregation still holds a collection of her correspondence with the sisters, with her spiritual director, and other acquaintances.

Our Foundress deeply contemplated the mystery of the Trinity and its manifestation in the Holy Family of Nazareth. She saw the example of Mary and Joseph, living faithfully each day in the presence of the Word, and recognised that a simple, ordinary life, filled with love, can be a profound encounter with God.

Frances Siedliska died in Rome on 21 November, 1902. She was beatified on April 23, 1989, and her liturgical feast day is November 25. There are currently 1,140 Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth ministering in 14 countries, with our Foundress’ animating spirit as our inspiration and mission.