This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Friday, June 15, 2012

June 15 -- Feast of Saint Germaine Cousin

A man with scrofula
Scrofula, a disfiguring disease, is now more properly called tuberculous cervical lymphadenitis.  It causes the lymph nodes in the neck to swell with tuberculosis, resulting in effects like the photo.  Or worse -- look up scrofula in google image if you're curious. 

Scrofula was just one of the miseries that plagued the life of young Germaine Cousin.  Her mom died when she was an infant and dad remarried.  The step-family didn't take to little Germaine, whose housework was hindered by a deformed right arm, whose lymphatic abscesses oozed and probably smelled bad, and whose general health reflected the bad treatment she received.  The step-mom beat her, gave her cast-off clothes from the other children, and of course made her sleep in the cupboard under the stairs, except when she had to sleep in the barn with the livestock.  I guess she ate a little more (if not better) when she lived in the barn; in the house, she was consistently underfed, but the pigs shared their slop with her generously. 

Flowers in the apron
In time, she worked for the family as a shepherd. There are a few miracles associated with this that seem to have happened to other saints.  First, she had to leave her sheep every day in order to attend Mass.  She was ask her guardian angel to tend them while she was away and of course nothing ever happened to them.  Once, when she was going to church, she encountered the stream at flood stage.  She opted to cross it anyway, and of course the surface was as solid as stone under her feet.  And on one occasion, her step-mom was chasing her down the road, waving a club and threatening to beat her for stealing a loaf of bread.  Stepmom made her unfold her apron, but only a huge bouquet of wildflowers fell out.  With everyone gawking at the miracle, the step-mother could hardly beat the child so she sent her back to the flocks. 

The cupboard under the stairs
Although Germaine was not formally educated, she offered catechism (religious instruction) to the area children in the field while the sheep were grazing.  Word got around the region that the girl was a pious little sufferer -- sure sign of a future saint.  The Family Cousin, embarrassed to be part of the tribulations which a saint suffered, offered her a room in the house, but she by that point, she preferred to sleep in the stable.  Stepmom must have started to resent the little saint's miseries, knowing that other people saw them as stemming from her.  But having said and done so much to the child, she could not easily reverse course without admitting fault and asking for forgiveness, and that must have been too much for her. 

She died at age twenty-two.  One the night she died, two itinerant monks camping in an abandoned castle nearby woke up to see a young luminescent woman with a floral garland being led away by a couple ghostly escorts.  The next morning, they asked around town and learned that Germaine had died in the barn during the night. 

The relics incorrupt
Yet not even death could end the indignities she suffered. During the French Revolution, a tinsmith named Touzla was ordered to confiscate her lead casket and dump her body.  The body was buried in the church sacristy with quicklime and water; the casket was melted down to make bullets.  After the Revolution, the body was disinterred and found to be intact in spite of the quicklime. 

1 comment:

  1. The true story of Germaine Cousin is coming out as a hardcover book entitled: GERMAINE:REQUIEM OF A SOUL/The Trues Story of Cinderella. The book: Germaine Requiem of a Soul/The True Story of Cinderella will shock your soul to the core, shake its very foundation, and then inspire you with hope and great love to seek to follow our Lord to the cross. Andrew St-James
    “It is only the God who is love who can bring light to the dark secret of human sorrow.”
    —Caryll Houselander, 1954 British mystic and spiritual teacherShow less. The book can be purchased here: