nuns-17th-century

Sister Mary Florence Of The Order Of Hopeless Lost Cause

When Esmeralda Lucinda Goochie Von Bogg-Stuppor gave birth to her only daughter, Llwaxanna, on October 31st, 1587, in a cave of the Carpathian Mountains, only one person was with her.

nuns-17th-centuryShe was known in Romania as Gussie Van Eldir-Gottenburg, in England as Elizabeth Barrington, and the Vatican as Sister Mary Florence, a nun of the Order Of Hopeless Lost Cause. As I have researched the archives during my last trip in Turin and Rome, I found some references dating from the time of Pope Julius II (1503-13). Very little is known where she came from. Some of the parchments are time worn and fragile. It was difficult to tell with any certainty, when or where she was born. There are some entries by Pope Julius II and his successor Leo X of a friend called Gussie. Much of the text was in Romanian, and if it hadn’t been for the translator, Father Brian McBryan, I never could have found the little information I have uncovered. He speaks 16 languages and claims to dream in every single one of them. He seemed pretty clear on some assessments of Gussie’s origin and maintains “evidence points to her Romanian origin, spoke flawless English and lived an unusually long life.” Vatican records also show some evidence she had a daughter, Brandusa (1) before she went to England and become Elizabeth Barrington.

How she came to the court of Henry VIII, becoming the handmaiden of, according to Father McBryan, Catherine of Aragon, daughter of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain, who sent Columbus on his journey in 1492. Catherine was the first wife of Henry VIII, a politically arranged marriage. Their daughter, Mary, succeeded her brother Edward VI. She proceeded to convert England back to Catholicism, persecuting many protestants in the process. When she died, Princess Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth I. References to Elizabeth Barrington are found soon after the appearance of Gussie Van Eldir-Guttenburg in Henry’s court. There is no references to Brandusa. Princess Elizabeth refers to her in some of her letters, “Dearest Gussie, my faithful Elizabeth B., I miss you as I think my fate shall be, as I wait in the tower, perhaps to follow mother (Anne Boleyn), head be struck by the Swordsman of Paris brought by my father to smite then execute her” and now, banished to the tower by my sister, Mary, The Queen.

Father Mc Bryan identified evidence that the Sister was a spy for the Vatican to watch Henry VIII and England when he converted to Protestantism. Her mission, he speculates, was to become trusted in the court, perhaps influence Mary, a catholic, when she became Queen, since Edward was sickly. However he didn’t see any evidence that Mary, Queen of Scotts, gave birth to twins as Von Stubbenboorg claims, or the younger of the two was “given Gussie to take to the Von Ich Been Gazoots for protection.” James The First, the elder of the “supposed” twins, became King in 1603, succeeding the Virgin Queen, Elizabeth I.

There are still unanswered questions about this woman, who was known by three names. Held dear by Queens, Kings, Princesses and Popes, who was present the night Esmerelda Goochie Von Bogg-Stuppor gave birth to her only daughter who would become the Contessa Llwaxanna Loveless Von Bralispth and who Father McBryan claims also knew William Shakespeare. Perhaps this suggests authenticity to Von Stubbenboorg’s claim that Shakespeare was her father, however I’m still not convinced that this is nothing more than “the machinations of an overly exuberant philologist.”

There was evidence in the Vatican Archives that all of Brandusa’s descendants in Romania, Italy and England have been traced while their position remains consistent. “Our ancestor, Brandusa van Elder-Gottenburg-van Dyke and her mother would have wanted to remain a mystery of History.”

Authors Note: My special thanks to Father Brian McBryan, a member of the Vatican Archives Committee, whose help was invaluable in my research, in the slow process of uncovering little recorded facts of Sister Mary Florence. Thank You Father, for all your help.

1) Brandusa means “crocus” in Romanian.