Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 7 December – St Burgundofara (c 595-c 643) Virgin

Saint of the Day – 7 December – St Burgundofara / more commonly known as Fara (c 595-c 643) Virgin, Nun, Abbess, Founder of the famous Evoriacum Monastery, near Paris in France, which after her death was renamed in her honour, Faremoutiers Abbey (Fara’s Monastery). The surrounding town is also knamed in her honour as is the Cathedral. Born in c 595 in Burgundy, France and died of natural causes in 643 or 655 or 657 near Meaux, France (records vary). Also known as – Burgondophora, Fare. Patronage – of Faremoutiers, France.

St Burgundofara in Faremoutiers Cathedral

Faremoutiers Abbey was the first “double” Monastery in France. These Celtic double Monasteries began in Ireland and they were places where both Monks and Nuns lived on the same monastic grounds, under the Rule of an Abbott or Abbess. The Nuns and Monks lived in separate quarters, but often worked and worshipped together.

Burgundofara’s family was knowns as the Faronids, named after her brother Saint Faro (Died c 675) the Bishop of Meaux in France. Her name may mean: ‘She who moves the Burgundians.’ When Burgundofara was a child, St Columbanus, the famous Irish Monk, visited in her home and blessed and dedicated her to God. This left such an indelible mark upon her soul that she resisted her parents’ attempts to force her to marry a few years later. Burgundofara spoke boldly to her father about becoming a Nun. She said to him: “To lose my life for the sake of virtue and fidelity to the promise I have made to God, would be a great happiness.”

St Columbanus blesses Burgundofara

As Founder and Abbess of Faremoutiers Abbey, Burgundofara grew into a strong leader who was not afraid to speak her mind. Those who lived on her monastic grounds discovered that she was both tough and tender.

Interestingly, it is recorded by the 7th Century Columbanian Monk and Hagiographer of the renowned Life of St Columbanus (he also wrote Burgundofara’s Vita), Jonas of Bobbio that a Monk named Agrestius from one of Columbanus’ Monasteries “felt called” to patronise Burgundofara concerning his thoughts, on how she was not being a good Abbess. He castigated her for using the Rule of Columbanus (of which he did not approve) in her Monastery.

This is how Jonas of Bobbio recorded that historical confrontation, “Agrestius then made his way to Burgundofara to try, if he might defile her with his insinuations. But the virgin of Christ confounded him, not in a feminine manner but with a virile response: “Why have you come here, you confuter of truth, inventor of new tales, pouring out your honey-sweetened poison, to change healthy food into deadly bitterness? You slander those whose virtues I have experienced. From them I received the doctrine of salvation. Their erudition has opened the way to the Kingdom of Heaven for many. Recall the words of Isaiah: ‘Woe unto them that call evil good and good evil.’ Hurry and turn wholly away from this insanity.

She was known for not only her personal courage, strength and toughness but also for her tender care, counsel and devotion, for those at Faremoutiers. Jonas of Bobbio wrote that after serving as Abbess of Faremoutiers for thirty-seven years, Burgundofara had a fever and died. She was so tough that miraculously, she managed to come back to life to make restitution with three Nuns, whom she had hurt. She received their forgiveness, lived six more months and then prophesied of the date and time of her death. When she died, it was recorded that her body smelled of sweet balsam.

A solemn Mass was held thirty days after Abbess Burgundofara’s final death. Hopefully, it is not blasphemous to ponder that they waited this long, to ensure that she would not come back to life. Her Will (Testamentum) confirmed that all the servants she had freed in her lifetime, would continue to be free.

The Faremoutiers Monastic grounds still exist, 1400 years later. Sadly, the French Revolution destroyed her monastic buildings but in 1931, a group of Benedictine Nuns came to reoccupy a building on the very spot of the ruins of the old Abbey. A few Nuns still live and serve there.

Yes, Abbess Burgundofara was a strong, powerful, and deeply spiritual leader.

The little Abbey today

Author:

Passionate Catholic. Being a Catholic is a way of life - a love affair "Religion must be like the air we breathe..."- St John Bosco Prayer is what the world needs combined with the example of our lives which testify to the Light of Christ. This site, which is now using the Traditional Calendar, will mainly concentrate on Daily Prayers, Novenas and the Memorials and Feast Days of our friends in Heaven, the Saints who went before us and the great blessings the Church provides in our Catholic Monthly Devotions. This Site is placed under the Patronage of my many favourite Saints and especially, St Paul. "For the Saints are sent to us by God as so many sermons. We do not use them, it is they who move us and lead us, to where we had not expected to go.” Charles Cardinal Journet (1891-1975) This site adheres to the Catholic Church and all her teachings. PLEASE ADVISE ME OF ANY GLARING TYPOS etc - In June 2021 I lost 95% sight in my left eye and sometimes miss errors. Thank you and I pray all those who visit here will be abundantly blessed. Pax et bonum! 🙏

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