07 Jul Blessed Florida Cevoli
Blessed Florida CevoliDied: June 12, 1767Known For: Her close relationship with St. Veronica GuilianiFun Fact: She started all her letters with the phrase, “Jesus amor, fiat voluntus tua” (Jesus my love, thy will be done).
A sickly constitution and a privileged background: these two characteristics worried the nuns at Città di Castello when Countess Lucretia Cevoli, one of their students, asked to join their community. Would she find the cloistered Poor Clare life too menial or physically taxing? But since the time of St. Clare many such women had joined the Order and succeeded. They accepted her, since God’s grace would be abundant if she was truly called.
And truly called she was. Countess Lucretia, who became Sister Florida (meaning “flourishing” or “prosperous”), relied totally on God’s help in her vocation and was not disappointed. She enjoyed baking and cooking just as much as using her education in the offices of abbess and infirmarian. During and even after her initial formation, she was privileged to have St. Veronica Guiliani as her spiritual mentor. Sister Florida served as vicaress (the abbess’ assistant) to Mother Veronica while the latter was abbess, and succeeded her in office after her death. Contemplative communities are asked to give alms to a just cause, and Mother Florida did this well by doing whatever she could to assist the poor and suffering souls who knocked on the monastery door. A deep devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows sustained her through life and in her final trials of spirit. “Help me! Help me to love God!” she would cry to our Blessed Mother.
She left an impressive legacy. During her term as abbess the monastic observance in her community underwent a formidable renewal, the amount of times the sisters could receive the Eucharist was increased, and she was instrumental even in the Church at large in helping to subdue the conflicts that started upon Pope Benedict XIV’s death. She was beatified by Pope St. John Paul II on May 16th, 1993.
Hone, Mary Francis. “Blessed Florida Cevoli, O.S.C. Cap. 1685-1767.” Poor Sisters of St. Clare. Ed. Mary Francis Hone. Langhorne: Holy Name Federation of Poor Clares in the USA, 2019. 87-88.