29 June 1867 by Pope Pius IX
abandoned people; abuse victims; against poverty; disabled people; girls from rural areas; illness; impoverishment; loss of parents; shepherdesses; sick people; unattractive people
Saint Germaine Cousin (pronounced coo-zan) was the child of a poor farmer, born in 1579 at Pibrac, France, north of Toulouse. Her mother died when she was an infant. Her father remarried and her step family was very cruel to her. She had to sleep in a stable, was scalded with hot water, was beaten and was fed scraps of food. She was born with a deformed hand and had the disease of scrofula. Despite her misfortunes she shared her daily allowance of bread with the poor and practiced many austerities as reparation for the sacrileges perpetrated by heretics in the neighboring churches.
At age nine she became a shepherdess. She prayed the Rosary on “beads” she made of knotted string. Her piety increased on the approach of every feast of Our Lady. She gathered children of the village to teach them the cathechism (using the Rosary) and to instill in them the love of Jesus and Mary. Her devotion to the Angelus was so great that she would fall on her knees at the sound of the bells, even if she were crossing a stream. She attended daily Mass, leaving the sheep in the care of her guardian angel. The wolves never harmed the sheep while she was away. She always went to Mass, rain or snow. On occasions the swollen waters were seen to open so that she could cross to get to church with getting wet.
O Saint Germaine, look down from Heaven and intercede for the many abused children in our world. Help them to sanctify these sufferings. Strengthen children who suffer the effects of living in broken families. Protect those children who have been abandoned by their parents and live in the streets. Beg God’s mercy on the parents who abuse their children. Intercede for handicapped children and their parents.
Saint Germaine, you who suffered neglect and abuse so patiently, pray for us. Amen