Today, 5 Oct 2012, is the memorial of St Flora of Beaulieu, (a.k.a. St Fleur or St Flor), a French Saint of the 14th century who was called by God to walk along the extraordinary / mystical path of the spiritual life. To balance those favours God sent her many trials, trials through which she grew closer to Him and more pleasing to Him.
St Flora was born in France around the year 1309 to a noble family. While still a girl she learned to love prayer and when it came time for her family to choose a husband for her it took her some time to convince them that she wanted to be the spouse of Jesus and of nobody else. In 1324 she entered the religious life with the Sisters of the Order of St John of Jerusalem at the priory of Beaulieu, in the Cahors region of south-western France.
To prepare her for special gifts, God sent her times of trial, difficulties, temptations and ridicule from the other nuns. Sometimes she felt discouraged and sad, and even intense depression. Later our Lord Jesus gave her visions of Himself, and times when she physically experienced a share in the sufferings of His Passion. She accepted these sufferings as a great gift from her divine spouse. She experienced God’s love to the point of ecstasy and was also given gifts of prophecy and of discerning spirits. Once when she was meditating on the Holy Spirit she was raised over a 120 cm from the ground. So emotional were many of her experiences; weepings, odd bodily movements, the passion of her response to God seen in wild rushings through the cloister, that many people thought she was mad and treated her accordingly.
She served God with prayer and with humility, with the praises of the Divine Office and her tasks in the priory and loved to be generous to the poor. In fact she even took the trouble to learn how to read so as to pray the Divine office better. Many people came to St Flora to ask for her prayers and to seek God’s wisdom for their problems from her. Having a strong devotion to Our Lady, she loved to ponder over the wonder of the Annunciation. She also had a special devotion to St John the Baptist, the patron of her order. God called her into heaven in 1347.
People seek St Flora’s intercession for healing, moral problems, bullying and protection against storms. Over 100 miracles were attributed to her intercession during the medieval centuries following her death. She is called St Flora because of the time the abbess caught her taking gifts to the poor, and these turned into purple red flowers in her cloak when it was opened.
Novena to St. Flora
O loving God Who has deigned to take into heaven Your blessed virgin, Saint Flora, we ask You, by her merits and prayers, to pardon us our sins, to defend us in our perils, to deliver us from all our enemies, visible and invisible and to make us think often of heavenly things. Almighty and merciful God, who wished blessed Flora to love and live as a virgin in the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, grant that, following her example, we also may love You more and more. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Dear St Flora, happy spouse of Jesus, please pray for us that we may learn to appreciate the difficulties in our lives as gifts from the Heart of Jesus that will draw us closer to Him, and increase our love for Him who underwent so many bitter difficulties and sufferings for us. Help us to know God’s loving will in our lives and how best to put it into practice. Please grant us a share in your great love for Jesus, and for His holy Passion, for Mary His virgin mother and for St John the Baptist. With your aid may we learn to use the gifts that God has given us with humility and with a grateful heart.
St Flora, pray for us always. Amen.