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October 6 

The month of Mary: A Marian Month

Our Lady of the Rosary


Saint of the day:
Saint Mary Frances of the Five Wounds of Jesus

Patron Saint of expectant mothers; women seeking to have children

She was the first woman from Naples to have been declared a saint by the Catholic Church.

St. Mary Frances of the Five Wounds' Story

Mary Frances of the Five Wounds (Italian: Maria Francesca delle Cinque Piaghe, 25 March 1715 – 7 October 1791), was an Italian member of the Third Order of St. Francis, who is honored as a saint in the Catholic Church.

She was born Anna Maria Gallo, the daughter of Francesco Gallo and Barbara Basinsin, in the Quartieri Spagnoli (Spanish Quarter) of Naples, a red-light district of the city, still known for its high crime. According to tradition, another saint, the Jesuit, Francis de Geronimo, predicted her future sanctity while she was still an infant. Her family was of the middle class, but her father, a weaver of gold lace, was a very violent man, who regularly abused his family physically, often severely. When Gallo was sixteen, her father attempted to force her into a marriage with a young man of means who was seeking her hand. She refused and asked to join the Franciscan Third Order, through which she could live out a religious life in the family home. The friars of Naples were part of the reform of Peter of Alcantara, and they and the tertiaries under their rule were known for the strictness of their lives. Through the intervention of a friar, Father Theophilus, permission to enter the Order was eventually granted by her father. Gallo was received into the Order on 8 September 1731 and began wearing the religious habit of the Order, which was an uncommon practice by that era. She also adopted the use of the religious name she took upon being received into the Order, out of her devotion to the Blessed Mother, Francis of Assisi and the Passion of Christ. She continued to live in the family home to serve God as a consecrated virgin, as was customary in those days. She took as her spiritual director, the Franciscan friar, John Joseph of the Cross, while her confessor was the Barnabite priest, Francis Xavier Bianchi, and she began to be known among her neighbors for her work of charity, helping the poor of the sector. She was a person of deep prayer, often spending long hours in meditation. In 1753 she joined with another Franciscan tertiary, known only as Maria Felice, and they moved into a small palace owned by a priest, Giovanni Pessiri, who became their spiritual director. The two women occupied the second floor, sleeping on the floor, and the priest the floor above. She is said to have received the wounds of the stigmata while living there 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 Raphael the Archangel, who healed her of several afflictions.



Gallo was buried in the Franciscan Church of Santa Lucia al Monte in Naples, which she attended during her life. This church also contains the tomb of John Joseph, now also declared a saint. Gallo was declared Venerable by Pope Pius VII, on 18 May 1803. She was beatified by Pope Gregory XVI on 12 November 1843. She was soon canonized by Pope Pius IX on 29 June 1867. Her feast day is celebrated on 6 October. She was the first woman from Naples to have been declared a saint by the Catholic Church. Devotion to Gallo has long continued to be strong in the neighborhood where she lived, and of which she is the patron saint. The residents credit her intercession with the little damage the sector endured during World War II, when over 100 bombs were dropped on it. Her home has been preserved as a chapel and museum. Pope Pius IX, who canonized Gallo, declared her to be a patroness of expectant mothers and of women having difficulty conceiving. She is also the patroness of the Gallo World Family Foundation, which was founded to promote the development of Judeo-Christian values in the betterment of the world by members of the Gallo family scattered worldwide. On 6 October 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. In Scotland, Margaret Sinclair took the religious name Sister Mary Francis of the Five Wounds during her short-lived vocation in London. Her major shrine in St Patrick's Church, Edinburgh has been given status by both Pope Paul VI declaration, and Pope John Paul II description of The Blessed Margaret as being "one of God’s little ones who, through her very simplicity, was touched by God with the strength of real holiness of life."






Shrine of St. Mary Frances of the Five Wounds, Naples, Italy

Chiesa di Santa Maria Francesca delle Cinque Piaghe

Vico Tre Re a Toledo, 13, 80132 Napoli NA, Italy




Lemon Risotto with Clams


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 4 ounces pancetta, diced

  • 2 shallots, chopped 

  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped 

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 

  • 1 cup Arborio rice 

  • 1 cup plus 1/2 cup prosecco 

  • 2 1/4 cups jarred clam juice or seafood broth 

  • 1 pound New Zealand clams, scrubbed 

  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

  • 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature 

  • 12 littleneck clams, shucked and chopped, juice strained

  • 1/4 cup Italian parsley leaves, chopped 

  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)


  1. Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the olive oil and pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pancetta is golden brown and crispy, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pancetta to a paper-towel-lined plate and reserve.

  2. To the pan with the pancetta drippings, add the shallots, garlic and salt. Cook until fragrant, stirring with a wooden spoon, 2 minutes. Stir in the rice and coat with all the flavors of the pan. Toast the rice for 2 minutes. Deglaze with 1 cup of the prosecco and cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid is almost entirely absorbed. Add 1 cup of the clam juice and cook, stirring, until almost completely absorbed, 6 to 8 minutes. Continue adding the clam juice, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring often and allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding the next. Cook until the rice is tender but not mushy, about 20 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, to a small saucepan, add the remaining 1/2 cup prosecco and the New Zealand clams. Cover the pan and place over high heat. Cook, shaking occasionally, until the clams have opened, about 4 minutes. Discard any clams that do not open. Set aside.

  4. To finish the risotto, stir in the Parmesan, butter, reserved pancetta and the chopped littleneck clams along with their juice. Cook until the clams are cooked through and the butter and cheese are melted in, an additional 2 minutes. The risotto should have some movement and not be too thick.

  5. In a small bowl, mix together the parsley and lemon zest. Stir half of the mixture into the risotto. Using a slotted spoon, scoop the steamed New Zealand clams over the top of the risotto and finish with the remaining parsley mixture.

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