About St. Germaine Cousin
ST. GERMAINE COUSIN
1579 — 1601
Feast Day June 15
Patron Saint of child abuse victims, abandoned people and the disabled.
Germaine Cousin was born in 1579 in Pibrac, France. After her mother died when Germaine was just an infant, her father Laurent was re-married to a woman named Hortense, who despised the young girl. Germaine was born weak, ill and with a deformity of her right hand. Hortense, in her cruelty, starved Germaine forcing her to crawl to eat from a dog dish. Hortense even poured boiling hot water on Germaine's legs, all the while her father did nothing to protect her.
Due to the abuse of her stepmother, Germaine became even more weak and ill, developing a disease known as scrofula, a type of tuberculosis that causes glands to swell. She developed sores that left her immune system vulnerable to other diseases.
Germaine's own siblings took part in the torment by putting ashes in the little food she did receive and pitch in her clothes. Afraid her own children would catch Germaine's diseases, Hortense made her sleep in the barn, and the only food she ate were the scraps for the animals.
Instead of being lonely, Germaine found solitude with God. She had a rosary made of knots and would pray simple prayers. Out of her prayers grew a deep faith and trust in God. She attended Mass daily without fail. One day, a long rain flooded the river and a villager saw the river part so that she could cross to get to Mass on time.
Germaine's holiness infuriated her stepmother and she waited to catch Germaine doing wrong. One evening Hortense saw Germaine with a bundle in her apron. Certain that Germaine had stolen bread, she began to chase and scream at the child. As she began to beat her, Germaine opened her apron and beautiful bright flowers that didn’t grow during that season tumbled out. Germaine handed a flower to her stepmother and said, “Please accept this flower, Mother. God sends it to you as a sign of His forgiveness.”
Germaine was found dead on her bed of leaves at the age of 22. When her body was exhumed 40 years later, it was found incorrupt.
When you read St. Germaine's story, the Walt Disney classic Cinderella quickly comes to mind. Germaine was a real life Cinderella except that she didn't marry a Prince. Her ending and reward was much greater as she was rescued by the Prince of Peace and her Divine Mother and received a crown far more glorious than any crown this world could have given her. She is a humbling reminder that we might not be rewarded for being faithful in this life, but the rewards in the next are incomparable to anything we deem as valuable on earth.