+ Germaine was born in Pibrac, France. As a child, she contracted a disease which caused a severe deformity in her right hand. Following her mother’s death when Germaine was still quite young, her father remarried, and Germaine suffered from extreme abuse and neglect by her stepmother and she was almost completely rejected by her father.
+ After years of abuse and being forced to sleep in a stable or in a storage space under the stairs of the family home, Germaine was sent to work as a shepherdess. It was in the fields that she cultivated her sense of prayer and her close union with God.
+ Devoted to the Mass, she attended as often as she could and she found great solace in praying the rosary which she had made for herself using knotted string.
+ Despite her own poverty, she was able to provide for the poor who asked for her help and she was especially kind to children, teaching them the rudiments of the Faith and sharing her food with them.
+ Saint Germaine Cousin died on her straw pallet under the stairs of her family’s home in 1601. She was buried in the parish church in Pibrac and miracles were reported at her tomb. Her memory lived on in the community and devotion to her spread throughout France and beyond.
+ Canonized in 1867, she is honored as a special patron for children who are abused and of those who are discriminated against because of physical disabilities.
On June 15, the Church also honors the memory of Saint Vitus. Still a child when he was martyred in Lucania, Italy, in 303, he has come to be honored as the patron saint of those suffering from epilepsy, as well as of dancers and entertainers.
“The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
the Lord is my life’s refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?”—Psalm 27:1
Hear our prayers, we ask, O Lord, that we, who devoutly honor the virtue of the Virgin blessed Germaine, may be worthy to abide in love of you and to grow in it always until the end. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal: Common of Virgins—For One Virgin)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.