Florentina (d. 7th c.)

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Florentina (d. 7th c.)

Saint. Name variations: Florence of Cartagena. Born at Cartagena (Andalusia), around the middle of the 6th century; died in the early 7th century; daughter of Severianus and Turtur; sister of St. Fulgentius, bishop of Ecija, St. Leander, and St. Isidore of Seville.

Of Greco-Roman ancestry on her father's side, Saint Florentina lived between the 6th and 7th century and was a cloistered nun. What little else is known about her comes from an extant letter she received from her brother, St. Leander. In it, he extols her virtue. "Nothing that I have seen under the sun is worthy of you," he writes; "I have found above the skies that great treasure which is the gift of holy virginity, ineffable and mysterious gift which I cannot possibly praise highly enough." He also tells her that the nuns that were born slaves are now her equals. "Those who fight with you for Christ under the banner of virginity should taste the same joyful liberty that is yours." Finally, Leander recalls the memory of their mother, who also ended her days in a cloister. "Rest now on the breast of the Church, that mystic dove, as you used to sleep upon the heart of her who tended your infancy." Upon her death, Florentina was laid to rest next to her brother Leander in the cathedral of Seville.