Mother Mary Francis wrote the religious bestseller A Right to Be Merry in 1956, a loving, humor-filled semi-autobiographical account of the life of cloistered Poor Clares. The book was written at the direction of her abbess who hoped it would win a $1,000 writing prize to pay for repairs to a leaky roof. Instead, the manuscript was published by Sheed and Ward, and remains in print today, available through Ignatius Press.
Mother Mary Francis helped found four new Poor Clare monasteries, including one in Holland, and led the restoration of two others. She was a strong voice for authentic religious life during the turmoil of the years following Vatican II. In addition to serving as abbess of a convent and of the federation of Colletine Poor Clare monasteries in the U.S., Mother Mary Francis was a prolific writer, producing spiritual meditations, plays, books and poetry. She died February 11, 2006, a few days short of her 85th birthday.
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