St. Franca of Piacenza: Cisterican Nun and Foundress
The saint of the day for April 26 is St. Franca of Piacenza, a Cistercian nun and foundress. She was placed in the Benedictine convent of Saint Syrus at Piacenza, Italy in 1177 at age seven and entered the Order at age 14. She was elected abbess as a young nun, but was removed from office due to her rigid interpretation of the Rule.
Nevertheless, one of the nuns, Sister Carentia, agreed with her discipline. When Carentia entered the Cistercian novitiate at Rapallo, Italy, she convinced her parents to build a Cistercian house at Montelana, Italy. Franca became abbess of the community, to which both she and Franca had entered. The community later moved to Pittoli, Italy. Franca consistently maintained the severe penances she imposed on herself, even in the face of poor health. She spent most nights in the chapel, praying for hours. She was canonized by Pope Gregory X.