Jacoba of Settesoli was a young widow living in Rome. From the moment she first learned about Francis of Assisi, she longed to meet him. That opportunity arose when Francis and his companions traveled to Rome to seek the pope’s approval for their new order. After hearing the saint preach, Jacoba approached and asked how she might also follow in his path. Because she still had children to raise, Francis advised her not to give up her home. “A perfect life can be lived anywhere,” he said. “Poverty is everywhere. Charity is everywhere.”
As Francis was nearing death, he sent Jacoba a message, urging her to come quickly and to bring a shroud for his body and wax candles for his burial.
Following this counsel, Jacoba joined the Third Order of St. Francis, turned over administration of her property to her sons, and devoted herself to prayer and charitable works. She nevertheless remained close to Francis. He gave her a pet lamb, which used to follow her about. As Francis was nearing death, he sent Jacoba a message, urging her to come quickly and to bring a shroud for his body and wax candles for his burial.
She hastened to Assisi, doing as he had asked. She also brought with her a batch of his favorite almond cookies. At first there was consternation among the brothers about allowing a woman into the friary, but Francis interceded and welcomed her as “Brother Jacoba.” Thus, she was admitted and so she remained beside him until his death. Afterward he was buried in her shroud.
Jacoba remained in Assisi until her own death on February 8, 1273. She was buried near the tomb of St. Francis.