24 June 2011

Solemnity of St. John the Baptist

Today marks the feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, who is my personal patron saint as well as the patron saint of the Order of Malta.

15 June 2011

Death of the Grand Prior of England - Fra Fredrik Crichton-Stuart

It was with great sadness that I learned yesterday of the death of Fra Fredrik Crichton-Stuart, the Grand Prior of England. He was a humble and generous man whom I unfortunately never got to meet in person. Nevertheless he was a reader of my blog and offered kind words of support and encouragement. He also helped me with information from time to time regarding the history of the Order, and I'm glad to say I was even able to reciprocate a couple times, once helping to find an out of print book he sought.

Despite his illness over the past year he would always respond to emails and even last week, just a few days before his death, he sent me a picture of Blessed David Gonson, together with some additional bits of information I didn't have, for an article on him I was writing. I mentioned that I was hoping to one day write a book on the lives of the saints and blesseds of the Order and as a testimony of his kindness he promptly responded with a list of people and sources of information to help me in my endeavor. As a sign that despite his illness he was not sitting around waiting to die, he offered to photocopy some of the booklets of information for me. That last email is bittersweet as although I will fondly remember his generosity and willingness to help a fellow knight, even one he never met, I never got the chance to respond and thank him before he died. So I will thank you now Fra Freddy and pray that you are in the company of Jesus and His mother whom I know you love and will remember you in the Little Office of Our Lady which I know was one of your favorite prayers too. You probably have found out the answer to those questions on St. Nuno you were looking for. If so I would be very grateful if you can somehow pass it along. For more biographical information please see the website of the British Association.

Fra Freddy, Requiescat in Pace.

Father's Mourning of Prayer

On Monday, June 20th from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. the men of the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis are called to join in a "mourning of prayer" in front of the new Planned Parenthood construction site at Charles and Vandalia in St. Paul. This is being organized by Pro-Life Action Ministries and the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis and you can visit their website for more details.

12 June 2011

St. Fleur of Beaulieu - Virgin of the Order of Malta

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)


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