My name is Veronique Flayol. My friends call me Roni.
Since my youngest age, I have a special devotion to Mary Magdalene.
I was born in St Maximin la Sainte Baume, the city where she is buried, at the foot of the Saint Baume mountain. This is the place where is the grotto where she spent the last years of her life.
My family, established in St Maximin at the 18th century, has always been involved in the respect and maintenance of the traditions.
I am proud of my Provençal roots and I’m deeply attached to our local traditions. Thanks to my father, who gave me the passion for it, I followed the way of my ancestors. A few decades ago, I created, with a group of friends, the Association Santo Madaleno (from the Provençal, our local language, means Saint Mary Magdalene). The purpose of our association is to defend and uphold the traditions. That is why, we organize every year the religious feasts of St Mary Magdalene in July.
I am lecturer guide, licensed by the French Ministry of Culture.
In 2008, I founded my own tour company. It was for me a way to share, through my profession, my passion for our Patroness of Provence. Also a way to show the places where she lived and preached to people in search of spirituality. At the beginning, it has been difficult but now, after years, I meet more and more people interested by her story. We follow her steps doing these sacred tours.
Every morning, when I wake up, I realize how fortunate I am to live here, so close to her. Every morning, when I open my shutters, I can see the St Baume mountain and the basilica while people have to cross the world to come here.
When I have to face difficulties, when I am in trouble, the Saint Baume grotto is my refuge. The simple fact of rising up through the relic forest calms me. After a moment of meditation and prayers, I feel better. Things are still the same, they haven’t changed, but I do see them in a different way.
The more I study and search for Mary Magdalene, the more I discover a splendid woman, who was anything but detestable or despicable.
From this meeting were born these spiritual journeys, and a long passion.