OCTOBER 5. flora of beaulieu, melancholy spirit
Patron saint of the abandoned, of converts, single laywomen, and victims of betrayal
Lived 1309 to 1347
An "innocent, good girl who resisted her parents plans for her to marry," Flora took the veil as a child of thirteen. Flora had a reputation for being emotional and/or mad. She wept, displayed odd bodily movements, and responded to God in "wild rushings through the cloisters."
DEPRESSION / "THINK SISSY SPACEK IN CARRIE"
"Is it possible that a saint--someone who has tasted the wonder and richness of divine love far more deeply than the rest of us have--could be troubled by a melancholy, restless spirit? Most definitely."
Even though it was her calling, entering a convent / taking Christ as her spouse precipitated an "intense and prolonged period of depression" in Flora. By some accounts, her sisters made fun of her, and that spurred her feelings of woe. By others, it was her depression (aka "moody behavior and sad appearance") that "took [its] toll" on her fellow nuns. With help from a confessor, Flora "worked her way through the tunnel of depression," and was rewarded with stigmata, levitation, the gift of prophesy, and other mystical experiences. By one account, the purpose of the trials, difficulties, temptations, and ridicule she endured was to prepare her for these "special gifts." One blogger (whose gorgeous Saint Flora needlepoint is worth a lengthy gander) suggests that these gifts made the very nuns who ridiculed her envious. She urges her readers to "think Sissy Spacek in Carrie."
SPIRITUAL SISTERWIVES WITH ELIZABETH OF PORTUGAL, ROSE OF VITERBO, & NOTBURGA
She is called St. Flora because an abbess once caught her smuggling gifts for the poor. When she opened her cloak, the gifts had transformed into "purple red flowers." This reminds me, of course, of a slightly more senior bride of Our Lord, Elizabeth of Portugal, who was born on the same continent (600 miles away) just 38 years before Flora. Depending on the account, Elizabeth turned bread into roses, flowers into coins, or coins into flowers. Pilfered food and wine became shavings and vinegar respectively when Notburga dropped her full apron. Notburga was 44 years older than Flora, and born a mere 457 miles away. Rose of Viterbo died 57 years before Flora was born, but her bread turned to flowers just 390 miles away.