Rome's motorists blessed on feast day of S. Francesca Romana.
Each year on 9 March drivers in Rome can receive the blessing of the capital’s patron saint of motorists, S. Francesca Romana, at the monastery named in her honour.
In the past drivers took their cars to be blessed at the Monastero Oblate di S. Francesca Romana, beside the Roman Forum, however this is no longer possible due to the traffic ban on Via dei Fori Imperiali.
Instead drivers can attend two masses on 9 March, at 08.00 and 09.00, as well as a blessing ceremony at 11.30, while there is a concert of Gregorian music that evening at 20.00.
In 1425 noble woman Francesca Bussi de’ Leoni founded the monastery and the Oblate Congregation of Tor de’ Specchi. She devoted her life to helping Rome’s poor and the sick, until her death in 1440.
She was canonised in 1608, and in 1925 Pope Pius XI declared her the patron saint of drivers.