Franca Visalta

Franca Visalta was also known as Franca of Piacenza, was a Cistercian abbess.

She was born in Piacenza, Italy, in 1170.  She became a Benedictine nun in St Syrus Convent at the age of seven and became an abbess at a young age. She was removed as abbess and isolated because of the severe life she imposed. Only one nun, Carentia, agreed with Franca’s discipline and she moved to a Cistercian convent in Rapallo. Franca then persuaded her parents to build a Cistercian house in Montelana where she and Carentia both entered. Franca became abbess and maintained the strict austerities on herself, even when her health was failing.  She spent most nights praying for several hours in chapel. She later moved the Cistercian community to Pittoli, where she died in 1218. Franca was canonized by Pope Gregory X.