Friar Jacoba

    Giacoma Frangipane de 'Settesoli, known as Jacoba de' Settesoli, and then Brother Jacoba, would be born in 1190 in Rome in Trastevere as Jacoba de 'Normans, and she was married very young with Graziano de Frangipane' Settesoli, a member of the noble Roman house Frangipane who had the Septizonium, a monument built by Septimius Severus near the Circus Maximus in Rome which was the fortress of the Frangipane’s. She became widow in 1217, becoming the only owner of many castles and lands in the region.


    Jacoba de 'Settesoli  is the most representative member of the primitive Franciscan Movement. After Santa Chiara is the closest to Francis, for devotion and expressions of affection. Towards the virgin Clare Francis was forced to impose, against his will, almost an attitude of detachment, along with the others after she went into seclusion at San Damiano. A different behavior was that he had to Jacoba, the Roman widow, for whom he felt freer, establishing a relationship with her almost as child to his mother. For "Brother Jacoba", as it is affectionately called, there was no bond of seclusion, so he was able to bestow upon her manifestations of sincere affection.

    He met St. Francis of Assisi in 1209, when the saint came to Rome, and helped him find accommodation in Ripa Grande and gain an audience with the Pope Innocent III.

    What is even more remarkable, Jacopa becomes the sister of all the brothers, so there were no constraints of separation. Francis used to say: "Open the doors and let she go, because for Brother Jacoba there is no decree of the enclosure relative to women to observe”.

    According to tradition, St. Francis founded in 1221, inspired by its Jacopa, the order of the "Brothers and Sisters of Penance" or "Third Order" dedicated to the laity, who, despite being living in the world, wanted to lead a Christian life in the Franciscan style.


    The friendship between the two is handed down by episodes kind. In one of the meetings in Rome, Francis had entrusted to Jacopa the custody of a lamb, which he had been given. The animal, as taught by the holy things of the spirit, there is never detached itself from the woman. "Even in the morning when he went to church to pray. If the lady was slow to get up, the lamb jumped up and hit her with his horns, waking her up with his bleating: the lamb, a disciple of Francis, had become master of devotion "(Legenda Maior).

    The tenderness of the relationship that existed between Francis and Jacoba shone above the point of death. The Saint, now nearing his end, wished to review Jacopa for the last time and dictated the letter from the human tender and intense: "A woman Jacopa, the servant of God, Brother Francis the Poor of God.  Know that the end of my life is next." He Begged her to bring him a dark cloth to wrap his body for burial, and the candles. "And also to bring me those sweet you used to give me when I was ill in Rome.

    After the death of Francis, Jacopa returned to Rome and devoted herself to works of charity and mercy, she helped the brothers to get in 1229, by order of Pope Gregory IX (Bull Cum deceat vos) the property of the Hospital of St. Blaise, transforming , after the canonization of Francis, in the Roman house of the Franciscans, founding the monastery of S. Francesco a Ripa.

    She made the will and retired as a Franciscan tertiary in Assisi, where she perhaps died in 1239. She was buried in the crypt of the Basilica of San Francesco in front of the tomb of the Saint and his companions. Above the urn you read the epigraph Brother Jacoba de Septemsoli and under the urn Hic requiescit Jacoba sancta nobilisque Roman (Here rests Jacopa holy and Roman noblewoman).