Schervier, Franziska, Bl.

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Foundress of the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor; b. Aachen, Germany, Jan. 3, 1819; d. there, Dec. 14, 1876. Franziska, daughter of Johann, a prominent businessman, and Marie (Migeon) Schervier, a Frenchwoman, was distinguished from her earliest years by concern for the poor and active charity. Drawn first to the contemplative life of the Trappistines, she served the poor as a laywoman and then founded, with four companions, a religious institute dedicated to caring for the poor and infirm (Oct. 3, 1845). The foundress and her young community were almost immediately tested during a cholera epidemic and later during the wars of 1866 and 186970, in which they rendered invaluable service nursing wounded soldiers. Such was the devotion of Franziska to the poor and afflicted that she was affectionately known as "Mother Frances." By 1876 the congregation had grown under her direction to 31 foundations in Europe and ten in America. Franziska also gave encouragement and financial aid to Johannes Höver, founder of the Poor Brothers of St. Francis. Her cause was introduced in 1934, leading to her beatification by Paul VI on April 28, 1974.

Bibliography: e. hÖnings, a. frings, and h.-g. soquat, Franziska Schervier, Mutter der Armen, 18191876 (Aachen 1992). i. jeiler, Venerable Mother Frances Schervier, tr. b. hammer (St. Louis 1895). e. kock, Franziska Schervier: Zeugin e. dienenden Kirche (Mainz 1976). t. maynard, Through My Gift: The Life of Frances Schervier (New York 1951).

[m. v. schreiner]