Saint Fleur / Flora of Beaulieu
Virgin of the Order of Malta
Memorial: 12 June
Fleur, or Flora, was born about 1300 at Maurs in the diocese of Saint-Flour (France) and took the veil as a girl of thirteen in the monastery of the Sisters of St. John of Jerusalem at Beaulieu, in the diocese of Cahors (France), where she devoted herself to tending the poor and the sick in the hospital attached to the monastery. Attractions and temptations she sublimated in the love of God and even in mystical experiences. She had a special devotion to Christ Crucified, Our Lady of the Annunciation and St. John the Baptist. She died in 1347 and her relics are still in the church at Issendolus, in the diocese of Cahors.
Almighty and merciful God, who wished blessed Fleur 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.
(From: The Missal with readings of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes, & of Malta, London 1997)
The last jewel in that glorious crown, and the most charming of all, is indeed that Saint Fleur the details of whose life we do not know. But we do possess the essentials of that life: she died at the age of 37 or 38, in 1299; she was one of the 38 professed cloistered nuns of the Hospital of Beaulieu, in Quercy, in the diocese of Cahors, which depended on the Priory of Saint Giles in Provence.
Like many saints, Saint Fleur was subject to the suspicions of her mother superior who could not admit or imagine the eminent virtue of her inferior and tried to catch her at fault. Saint Fleur was greatly addicted to giving alms to the poor, and the abbess thought that the young nun was taking food needed by the community to distribute it among the indigent. One day, the abbess followed the young sister and forced her to show what she was carrying in the folds of her cloak. The suspicious woman had the pleasure of admiring the superb purple-red flowers that the Lord had substituted for the charitable offerings of the saint, who from that time on has borne the name of her miracle.
She leas buried in the church of Beaulieu, where she had sung in the choir with her companions, according to the rule of Frà William of Vallareto. She worked numerous miracles in that city.
Her feast day is celebrated on June 11.
At the Hospital of Beaulieu, this prayer used to be recited from time immemorial:
"O God Who hast deigned to take into heaven Thy blessed virgin, Saint Fleur, we ask Thee, 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. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen".
Is there a more fragrant close to this enumeration of saints than this delightful figure of a virgin surrounded by roses? She predicted another virgin who showered the earth with the miraculous petals of her immortal crown. It depends on us alone to receive her grace by invoking her as our ancestors did, and constraining her affectionately to forego her heavenly rest for a moment to help her brothers and sisters of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, who love her and pray to her, who wish to imitate her virtues and hope with all their hearts to walk in her footsteps in the flagrance of her eternal roses.
(From: Ducaud-Bourget, Msgr. François: The Spiritual Heritage of The Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Vatican 1958)
Stained glass window
Order of Malta Church, Prague/Czech Republic
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