We Lived With A Saint

By Sister Mildred Marie Neuzil (Seer of Our Lady of America)

Sister Mary Florecita Bidart was born on May 4, 1904, in Corona, California to Josqhina (Gliss) and Samson Bidart, both of who came to America from France.  She was the eldest of five girls.  In the world she was known as Marie. Her father had a large sheep ranch in Chino, built a home and raised his family there. 

Maria attended San Luis Academy, in California, and when she was 17 entered the Sisters of the Precious Blood at Maria Stein, Ohio.

For over 30 years Sister Florecita taught in schools of the Congregation of the Precious Blood in California, Indiana and Ohio.  She was a very successful teacher and her pupils loved her dearly.  To this day many have kept in touch with her.

For sometime Sister was also director of the Catholic Information Center at St. Mary’s Church in Dayton, Ohio.

Whatever Sister Florecita undertook, with her complete trust in God, turned out to be a tremendous success; yet, she was never ambitious in seeking glory for herself, but only for God.

Sister always felt drawn to a more Contemplative Way of Life, and so entered the Dominican Nuns of Perpetual Adoration in Detroit, Michigan but due to the poor health returned to the Congregation in Dayton.  It was, however, in the Dominican Cloister that Sister was inspired to start a Contemplative Group within the Congregation of the Sisters of the Precious Blood.

Sister Mary Florecita worked toward this idea for over 25 years, and at four General Chapters Sister was promised that the Cloister would be voted on but each time it was never brought to the floor until, at one Chapter, Archbishop Alter, himself, brought it to the Chapter floor and since the Bishop, himself, presented the petition, it was voted, passed and accepted by the Congregation.

With the help and encouragement of Archbishop McNicholias, Archbishop Alter, Bishop Marling, Archbishop Leibold, Msgr. Markham and Bishop Rehring, Sister Florecita’s dream became a reality.  Archbishop McNicholas did say to Sister: “Because you Congregation has always been too geared toward activity, I doubt if the Sisters of the Precious Blood will ever understand and appreciate a Contemplative Group.”  His prediction has been proven true.

Mother Aquinas told Sister Florecita that she could have part of the New Riegel convent for the Cloister, if she could remodel and do whatever was needed on her own through donations, etc.  It meant a lot of hard work and planning for Sister as she also was teaching school here at St. Boniface and working at night on the Cloister.

The interior of the present convent was completely renovated and the grounds within the enclosure were beautifully landscaped.  Additional ground in the back was purchased by Sister Florecita for a large vegetable garden and an enclosure wall was built.  Printing equipment was purchased as needed.  All this was paid for by donations from Sister Florecita’s friends and benefactors.

Twelve years ago, Sister found it necessary to put up a new wing as added quarters were required for they were growing in number. Again the building and furnishings were paid for by Sister Florecita from donations received.   The Congregation in Dayton was never called upon for funds to support us.  We were entirely self-supporting.

A figure well over $800,000 was spent at New Riegel.

The Statues of the Contemplative Way of Life at New Riegel and rule had full approval from the Sacred Congregation for Religious in Rome even though their own Congregation said it would never recognize our status.

In December of 1977, the Officials from Dayton, Ohio came to New Riegel with orders for Sister Mary Florecita along with Sister Joseph Therese to leave the New Riegel Monastery the next morning.  (Later we found out from the Officials in Rome, that the Superiors in Dayton did not have the authority to do what they did to us.)  Without a hearing, Sister Mary Florecita was judged and condemned.

The Contemplative Group at New Riegel, seeing the injustice of the whole matter, asked the Officials in Dayton that the two, Sister Florecita and Sister Joseph Therese, be given 30 days to make a decision.  In the meantime, Sister Mildred Marie Neuzil, along with the other Contemplative Sisters, got together and came to realize that the only way to preserve and be able to live our “Contemplative Way of Life” was to ask for a complete separation from the Congregation of the Sisters of the Precious Blood. 

For sometime, because of the difficulty and pressures the Congregation put on the Cloister, this idea for separation was thought about but Sister Florecita would always say, “When the Lord wants us to separate, He will give us a sign.”  And this He did by their forcing to break up the Contemplative Community.  Part of the difficulty we were experiencing was due to the Congregation trying to force their polices of an active life upon us.

Sister Mary Florecita had all the Characteristics of a true Foundress – Absolute Faith and Trust in God; Strength of Character; True Generosity; Insight; Simplicity; Discernment and Vision.

So like all Great Souls she was much misunderstood.  In spite of being rejected, treated unjustly, brought to judgment without a trial, Sister went on trusting in God, remaining faithful and accusing no one. 

Even though the Congregation to which she had belonged, completely destroyed all that she spent her life working and suffering for, Sister’s faith and trust in God was unwavering. Sister was also called a failure by the Bishop of the Diocese just two months before her death because of the untrue stories told him. 

We know that Sister Florecita was not a failure but too much of the success for certain minds to comprehend.  Like Christ, Himself, who went before her, was also considered a failure and was completely rejected by so many, the same is true with sister.  Sister Florecita’s work and belief in Contemplative Prayer as a Way of Life will continue in the lives of her two Contemplative Sisters, who survive her and in the years for those that will follow.

Yes, Sister was too much of a success to be accepted for what she really was.  Her generosity of heart was of such an all embracing nature that it was bound to be misconstrued and criticized by those who did not really know her and the Seal of Success on her work as God sees it.  This will be proven in the years now following her death.

A week before Sister Florecita’s death, the Officials once again came from Dayton and this was the final blow received.  Sister suffered a massive heart attack.  She was fully conscious to the end, received the Church’s Last Rites and died in the arms of her two sisters, Sister Mildred Marie Neuzil and Sister Joseph Therese Fuller, at Mercy Hospital at 2:20 A.M. on April 3, 1979.  Although Sister Mary Florecita never, never felt any bitterness she asked that her body NOT  be returned to Dayton or New Riegel but that she be buried in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Tiffin, Ohio.  Sister Florecita told us as she told many that her link with the Congregation of the Sisters of the Precious Blood was severed and her work must continue outside the Congregation and away from New Riegel.

Sister Florecita along with us asked for exclaustration.  Several weeks ago when we spoke to Father Basil Heiser at the Sacred Congregation for Religious in Rome, he told us that our papers were processed and sent out.  Now we are only two and we will continue to live our Contemplative Life of Prayer that Sister Florecita taught us.  We know that within the Congregation this would be impossible.

The Sacred Congregation in Rome told us that if we wish, we can go under a Bishop, ask for a complete dispensation from the Congregation and eventually become a Pius Union. This we eventually intend to do.

We thank God for giving us the privilege of living with a Saint.  We know that at all times she will be with us as she promised she would be both in life and in death.  Before she died, she called us, “The Little Trinity.”   As a priest friend once said of her, she is like a cowboy, a truly free spirit, riding the prairie, her eyes fixed on God.  Sister Mary Florecita never let herself be upset by little things.  She considered these of no consequences and a waste of time to dwell upon.  She was a woman of greatness, concerned only about the greater things of life and her relationship with God.  One of her favorite mottos was, “Never look back with bitterness or regret.  The past is past!  Rather, go forward to the work of God waiting for you.”  Her special psalm was Psalm 37, “Commit your life to the Lord: Trust in Him and He will act, etc.”

As Father Gorman said at the Eulogy of Sister’s Funeral Mass, “She died before she died and so she did not die.”  Sister Mary Florecita Bidart lives forever, especially in the hearts and lives of her two surviving Contemplative Sisters, Sister Mildred Marie Neuzil and Sister Joseph Therese Fuller.

She marched to the music of a different drummer.


If anyone would like to know any more about Sister Florecita, please write to Sister Mildred Marie and Sister Joseph Therese.

Written and signed by

Sister Mildred Marie Neuzil

Sister Joseph Therese Fuller


Note One:  I think this letter is important because people today are claiming that Sister Joseph Therese Fuller is not a nun.  If she is not a nun (More evidence that she is coming soon), then the seer of Our Lady of American, was not a nun either.  So by attacking Sister Joseph Therese Fuller, they are attacking Our Lady of America.

Note Two:  New web site for Our Lady of America – www.ourladyofamerica.com