Florence of Mont Glonne

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(5th century),

priest and monk. Possibly Bavarian by birth, he was supposedly a disciple of Martin of Tours, who ordained him priest for the needs of Poitou. Later he retired to be a hermit at Mont Glonne, initially in the company only of wild animals and snakes. Later still, disciples joined him and they made a foundation in Saumur. Mont Glonne is situated on a hill overlooking the Loire between Angers and Nantes. There Florence died at an advanced age, reputed to be 123.

From the 7th century or earlier monks venerated Florence as an apostle of the countryside who was also their founder. Translations of his relics to Poitou, Orléans, Tournus, and Saumur contributed to the spread of his cult. The temporary use of the abbey by Charlemagne as a fortress against Breton invaders did less harm to it than the sack by Vikings in 850. But the monastery was rebuilt and its past power restored: in the 9th century a Life of the saint was written. During the Middle Ages Mont Glonne continued as an abbey, but during the French Revolution it became the centre of resistance to the anti-religious laws by the country folk, comparable to the resistance of La Vendée. Nowadays the abbey building survives with the name of Florence, some of whose relics, salvaged from the revolutionaries, were placed in the church in 1828. Feast: 22 September; there is also a translation feast on 27 June.

AA.SS. Sept. VII (1867), 410–38; Bibl. SS., v. 854–6.

Subjects: Christianity.

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