At number 61 of Via dei Vascellari street in Trastevere, is located the Ponziani palace. The Ponziani palace was in the Trastevere section of Rome, and just around the corner was the little church of San Francesco a Ripa. This church had been given in 1212 to St Francis by the Roman lady Giacoma di Settesoli (Brother Jacoba), who in 1226 was present at the death of the Poverello. By 1414 at least, the adjoining friary was one of 34 belonging to the Observant reform movement in the First Order of St. Francis, which was begun in 1368 by Brother Paul or Paoluccio of Trinci and in the following century was promoted by such saints as St Bernardin and St John Capistran.
It was at San Francesco a Ripa that Frances Ponziani was received into the Third Order of St Francis; and one of the priests there, Father Bartholomew Bondi, became her spiritual director.
Living at the Ponziani palace with St Frances of Rome was Vanozza, the wife of her oldest brother. She too had entertained thoughts of entering a convent before her marriage, and she joined Frances in her works of piety and charity. Together they spent hours of prayer in a disused attic or an old summer cottage in the garden.
At seventeen, St Frances of Rome gave birth to her first son, John Baptist; and shortly afterwards her mother-in-law died. Frances was then placed in charge of the household; and she carried out her duties, not only efficiently, but also in a genuinely Christian manner.
During a famine she gave away corn to the poor so lavishly that her husband began to object. When he went to the empty granary, however, he found it miraculously filled with forty measures of wheat “so shining and so full…that it seemed as though it had been raised in Paradise and reaped thee by angels…”