Monday, June 20, 2016

St. Florence: nun, abbess, and founder

Today is the feast of St. Florence, also known as St. Florentina, a cloistered nun and abbess. She was the founder of a religious community.

St. Florentina was born in the middle of the sixth century in Cartagena, Spain. Her family was very devout and actively involved in living out their faith and in promoting Christianity. Florentina was the sister of three bishops: Leander, Isidore of Seville, and Fulgentius. All three brothers are saints.

Florentina’s parents died when she was young; therefore, her older brother Leander became her guardian. Leander had been a monk, prior to becoming a bishop, and it was through his encouragement that Florentina embraced the cloistered life. She consecrated her virginity to God, associated with other consecrated virgins, and formed a religious community. They took up residence at the monastery of St. Maria de Valle near Ecija (Astigis), where her brother Fulgentius was bishop.

Leander wrote the rule of life for her order. Florentina entered with great zeal into the spirit of the religious life, and was celebrated as a saint after her death. Her younger brother Isidore dedicated his work "De fide catholica contra Judæos" to Florentina, which he wrote at her request. Florentina died around 636 of natural causes and is venerated as the patroness of Partido de Campana, Argentina.

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