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Reliquary theca with relics of Saint Mary Frances of the Five Wounds, Patron of Expecting Mothers

Oval glass-fronted reliquary theca housing the second-class relic of Saint Mary Frances of the Five Wounds. The relic is affixed to the lower part of the theca under a painted image of the Virgin Mary and Child. It is identified on a typographic cedula label as S. M. Franciscae a V. (Saint Mary Frances, Virgin). On the back, under a protective cap with an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the theca is secured by a perfectly preserved seal of red Spanish wax with a clear imprint of a unidentified coat of arms. 

Saint Mary Frances of the Five Wounds, T.O.S.F. (Italian: Maria Francesca delle Cinque Piaghe, (†1791), was an Italian member of the Third Order of St. Francis, who is honored as a saint in the Catholic Church. She is said to have received the wounds of the stigmata and suffered patiently many physical afflictions and spiritual trials. She would wear gloves to cover the marks on her hands, while she did her work. She is also said to have had visions of Saint Raphael the Archangel, who healed her of several afflictions. She was beatified by Pope Gregory XVI in 1843 and soon canonized by Pope Pius IX on in 1867. She is a holy patron of Quartieri Spagnoli of Naples (co-patron); Gallo World Family Foundation; expectant mothers; and women seeking to have children and Her feast day is celebrated on 6 October. In 2001, her remains were transferred from the Church of Santa Lucia to the house where she had spent the last half of her life. It is now the Shrine of St. Mary Frances of the Five Wounds. It is still a common practice for expectant mothers to go there to be blessed with her relic. Many votive offerings from mothers who credit her with their successful deliveries are displayed in the sanctuary.

Additional Info

  • ID#: 14-RSCRM-1
  • Size: 33 x 31 mm
  • Age: ca. 19th century
  • Origin: Italy, Naples
  • Materials: silvered brass
  • Price: $625

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