Saint Fara or Fare

Founder and first Abbess of the Abbey of Faremoutiers

(595 - 643 or 655 or 657 )

Memorial : 3 April
7 December in France

St. Fara (Burgundofara or Fare) was the daughter of a high noble family of France in the 7th century. In her childhood she was consecrated to God by St. Columbanus, the Apostle of Ireland, who visited and blessed her house in Meaux, France.

Later her father gave her an estate upon which she built the Convent of Evoriacum which was famous in her time. After her death, it was renamed in her honor and became the Benedictine Abbey of Faremoutiers. As Abbess, she established the rule of St. Columbanus, which was very strict. 

The fame of her sanctity quickly spread throughout France and reached England, where many princesses asked to be under the direction of St. Fara. The luster of her sanctity and rumors of it spread through her province in France and reached England, which in the 7th century was divided into small kingdoms, each with its own royal family. Throughout those seven kingdoms of England the news spread of St. Fara’s sanctity. Many princesses wanted to follow her example and entered her convent as well. We can imagine those courts still in their primitive pomp and luxury, with the parents and relatives of those princesses encouraging them to remain there, enter into noble marriages, and enjoy their lives, possibly even becoming queens. But many of them renounced their privileges and decided to go to that far-off French convent to follow the example of St. Fara. 

Among these were Saints Sisetrude, Gibitrudis, Hercantrudis, and the English princess Sedrido, who succeeded her as Abbess. Faremoutiers became a school of sanctity where miracles and marvels were common. Often at the deaths of nuns the singing of angelic choirs could be heard throughout the convent as they accompanied the souls of the deceased nuns to Heaven. The spiritual and physical cures were numerous. 

Notwithstanding this saintly environment, a few of the disciples of the saint did not profit from her teachings. The marvelous atmosphere of St. Fara’s convent was confirmed by the many miracles that took place there. At their deaths, the souls of the good religious were carried to Heaven by Angels singing in chorus. Their songs were heard by all the nuns and echoed through the convent walls for some time. These were physical miracles. There were also numerous spiritual miracles. We see that in this convent, the cloister, chapel, statues of Our Lady, cells, and halls were impregnated with that supernatural aura found in Fra Angelico’s paintings. 

But evil was also present. As in any convent, there were bad nuns there also. Evil entered into its cloisters, but it was obliged to reveal itself. Indeed, those bad nuns who rejected the grace of their vocations and then chose Hell, died with terrible deaths. Before dying shifting shadows surrounded their bodies and coarse voices called them by name, which were also probably heard in different parts of the convent. 

The Abbey of Faremoutiers
Thus, the cloister that had listened to the song of Angels, now heard the roar of devils taking the souls of the bad nuns to Hell. After they were buried, flames would appear over their graves. This was still a mercy of Our Lady for the convent because seeing this, the nuns felt a beneficial horror of vice. It was a way to show how vice and error should be avoided and despised. It was also her mercy that obliged the Devil to show himself amidst such horrible and appropriate symbols. 

Even though St. Fara, together with her faithful daughters, were there praying for their souls, Satan received their last breaths and took their souls to Hell. Because they died in despair, their bodies were buried in a nearby field rather than consecrated ground. 

During the seasons of Christmas and Easter, flames would appear over their sepulchers, a terrifying example of human fragility! They had abandoned the world, lived amid saints and witnessed miracles. But even though they were surrounded by every kind of supernatural assistance, they did not persevere. 

That living contrast between good and evil inside the convent confirmed the fight between the sons of light and the sons of darkness, established by God in Paradise, when He foretold that Our Lady would smash the serpent’s head: an eternal fight that was, is, and ever will be present in History until the end time.

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