I enjoy cheering for the underdog. Specifically, when it comes to a good person who unfairly gets the short end of the stick in a situation... then struggles against all odds to overcome major obstacles. This little Saint was one such person. Sickly all her life, she was unloved and neglected by the very people who should have cared for her. Nonetheless, she had a heart full of unwavering faith that helped her to triumph over all adversity.
|An old print depicting St. Germaine|
... Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy...
|The home of St. Germaine in Pibrac|
The townsfolk started seeing Germaine in a new light and treating her with respect rather than with the indifference and ridicule that was previously shown her. They paid close attention to her every move and her pious habits - the way she knelt in prayer regardless where she happened to be when the bell tolled at noon for the Angelus; her habit of taking her flock into dangerous areas infested with wolves, yet neither she nor any of her sheep were ever harmed; the way she generously shared her meal of bread with people less fortunate than herself; and the mysterious way the same meager portion of bread would somehow end up being enough despite the number of people the Saint shared it with. Even her parents had a change of heart and they invited her to once again live in the house with them; an invitation that Germaine declined, preferring the peaceful solitude she learned to enjoy in the barn.
One chilly morning, in 1601, Germaine's father awoke to hear the sheep still in the barn, which was unusual. When he went to check on the matter, he discovered his daughter lifeless on her mattress of straw. She had passed, alone, sometime in the middle of the night at only 22-years-old. Soon after, two strangers to Pibrac - friars passing through the area - arrived in the village excitedly inquiring if a holy maiden had died the night before. The friars explained that they were traveling on foot and had spent the night, outdoors, in the outskirts of the town. They were awakened at midnight by the mysterious sound of angelic singing and witnessed a beam of light coming down from the sky, upon which a procession of celestial beings descended into the town. When the group ascended back up to the heavens, they had among them another person - a young woman. The people immediately surmised that it could only have been the pious Germaine entering into her eternal reward.
Not surprisingly, the discovery of the body reignited interest in Germaine and crowds flocked to venerate the sacred relic of the preserved body. Hundreds of cures were reported in connection with it. Sadly, in 1793, during the peak of the infamous French Revolution, Germaine's relics were desecrated and nearly destroyed after local revolutionaries broke into the parish church and reburied her remains with highly corrosive quick-lime. When the body was recovered, parts of it had deteriorated leaving only her bones.
A Short Prayer
Lord, help us to live the blessings of the Beatitudes in the same worthy manner that St. Germaine did in her own life. Amen.