This feast always falls within Lent even on the latest start date for Ash Wednesday, and I think that has meaning. The three pieties of Lent, Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving are truly brought to mind in this saint.
Frances is known as being a reluctant bride, for feeling trapped in various worlds, and especially for her charity to the poor and sick, but there is another aspect that I want to focus on: the Christian idea of love that manifests itself in deep friendship. Frances developed deep friendships with people that she initially dismissed, even those close to her in her family, people who, once she took the risk to share her truest and deepest beliefs with, surprised her with equal love and support. In the end she is probably better known for the quotes of others directed at her, rather than any thing she said which shows the power of that humble love.
Spiritual friendship is perhaps a lost concept in this "connected" world that we live in but it is a great answer to it. The more we "connect" through technology alone, the bigger the wedge we drive in our daily interactions and relationships. We can fail to see the forest for the trees; we can dismiss others before know them.
Frances reminds us to love personally, freely, and deeply despite the risks.
Is this not, rather, the fast that I choose: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; Setting free the oppressed, breaking off every yoke? Is it not sharing your bread with the hungry, bringing the afflicted and the homeless into your house; Clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own flesh? Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your wound shall quickly be healed; Your vindication shall go before you, and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer, you shall cry for help, and he will say: “Here I am!” If you remove the yoke from among you, the accusing finger, and malicious speech; If you lavish your food on the hungry and satisfy the afflicted; Then your light shall rise in the darkness, and your gloom shall become like midday; Then the LORD will guide you always and satisfy your thirst in parched places, will give strength to your bones And you shall be like a watered garden, like a flowing spring whose waters never fail.
-- Isaiah 58:6-11
Things to Think About