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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Saint Genevieve

Feast Day: January 3 
Patroness of Paris

St. Genevieve was born at Nanterre near Paris around the year 422. She was seven years old when Bishop Germanus of Auxerre along with Bishop Lupus of Troyes, stopped at Nanterre, on their way to Great Britain to contest the heresy of Pelagius. Amidst the crowd, Genevieve eagerly listened as her father hoisted her up to his shoulder so that she could have a better view. Her fervor attracted the attention of Bishop Germanus that at the end of his sermon he gave Genevieve a medal engraved with a cross.

At age 15, Genevieve took her religious vows. During her lifetime she had visions and prophesied future events. But these special favors caused her so much suffering for her visions and prophecies were treated as frauds and deceits. Yet, in spite of it she continued to do the will of God.

In 449, the barbaric tribe of the Franks besieged the city of Paris. King Childeric planned on starving the people for them to surrender. Genevieve helped the soldiers procure grain for the starving citizens and though Paris came under enemy control, King Childeric of the Franks respected Genevieve, and at her request spared the lives of many citizens.

Then in the year 451, Attila the Hun went marching toward Rome; Paris lay in his path. The people were terrified and prepared to flee. But Genevieve gathered the people of Paris in prayer for God’s protection. “Do not run to fortified castles in the countryside, but run to your churches here in Paris. Do not rely on arms and armies, but put your trust in God.” She also urged them to do works of penance; and her exhortations prevailed. The barbarians, for no apparent reason, suddenly changed the route of the march, leaving Paris untouched.

The life of St. Genevieve was one of great asceticism and constant prayer and this is seen in her love for the people and her country.

Genevieve was eighty nine when she died.


*Genevieve believed in God and she followed God’s leadings. Despite the calumny she suffered she continued to do God‘s will, that’s how she trusted God. She would rather go through the shame of being maligned than risk being told “Oh, you of little faith!” To her pleasing God is all that matters.

*How people easily believe in rumors and yet remain skeptical in the word of God. Our egos and self-righteousness hinder us from hearing the message; we tend to see only the messenger, who is just like us, a sinner. “Why would God choose her or him over me? “ “What has she or he done to deserve God’s favor?” In our efforts to belittle others to look better ourselves, we misuse our energy and fail to see the loving God behind the messenger and the message.

*St. Genevieve showed us that it is indeed by the path of fidelity, and not by the path of feelings or reasoning that we will know God and begin to hear His voice.

I would be glad to read your reflections/inputs/insights or comments regarding this post. Hope to hear from you soon! Thank you and God bless!

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