Not many Catholics know of Germaine Cousin (+1601) today, which is likely how the saint would have liked it, for she lived an obscure, solitary life, tending sheep in the fields, ‘hidden with God’ – but like all such holy and hidden lives, she did more to change history than the great and the powerful. She was slightly deformed, with a withered hand of some sort, and suffered from scrofula, an infection of the lymph nodes causing unsightly blisters and pustules. Her mother died when she was young; her father married again, and the step-mother banished Germaine, fearful that the disease was contagious to the other children. She never complained – rather, she increased her practice of prayer and penance, for the conversion of hearts. Germaine would attend Mass daily, leaving her flock to the care of God’s angels at the sound of the bell, and she was faithful to this practice to the end.
Miracles abounded during her life – her sheep were always kept free from harm, never attacked by roving wolves, rivers opened in Biblical manner to let her through dryshod. But even more did they abound after her early death at 22 years old, when her father – who with many others had begun to realize her holiness – found her body in the fields. Her body was found incorrupt, and has remained so for centuries. Thousands of cures and prayers answered, hundreds of them attested by rigorous examination.
Pope Pius IX beatified her on May 7th, 1854, the same year,, fittingly, he would later declare the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. The same Pope canonized her on June 29th, 1867, 1800 years to the day after Saint Peter’s crucifixion (and a few days, more incidentally, of the official ‘founding’ of the Dominion of Canada), with her feast kept on the middle day of June, the 15th.
Saint Germaine’s life parallels the fairy tale of Cinderella, even if there was no glass slippers and earthly princelings. As Our Lady said to Saint Bernadette, her happiness was not to be fulfilled in this life, but the next – which is really what Cinderella is about, that persevering in virtue will have its reward one day. Miracles through her intercession continue into our own day, for those who find this pearl of great price. Just try asking her.
Saint Germaine Cousin, prier pour nous! +
(Source, in partibus, Wikipedia.org)