Jacoba, the Roman noblewoman, was a young widow when she heard of the holy man, Francis of Assisi. Desiring to meet the penitent in order to seek his spiritual advice, she got her wish when Francis and his small band came to Rome to obtain papal approval of the Franciscan Rule of life.
Jacoba was so moved by the sermons and talks that Francis gave that she joined the Franciscan Third Order, turned the administration of her possessions over to her two sons and spent the rest of her life in the practice of good works. She furnished a house for the friars in Rome and provided for their needs, acting as a mother to the sick friars.
When Francis neared the time of his death, he sent for her as he had promised, writing to his beloved sister in Christ: "If you wish to find me still alive, make haste so that you will be at St. Mary of the Angels by next Sunday. Bring with you some ash-gray cloth to be used as a shroud for my body, and wax candles for my burial."
But Jacoba and her two sons had already left Rome with the necessary items, having been summoned by a voice that spoke to her while she was in prayer. During the final four days of Francis' life she remained at St. Mary of the Angels ministering to him. With tears she helped the friars to arrange his funeral. Francis was buried in her shroud.
Jacoba returned to Rome to put her affairs in order and then went back to Assisi, where she spent the remaining days of her life watching and praying at the tomb of her spiritual father. She is buried in the church near St. Francis.