St. Germaine Cousin
16th Century France

St. Germain Cousinin papermaché

St. Germain was ignored by her father and abused by her stepmother forced to sleep in the stable, fed scraps, beaten or scalded with hot water for misdeeds - real or imagined. She had a deformed hand and suffered from scrofula.

She was put to work tending sheep at the age of nine and she spent much of her time praying - she used to set her crook in the ground and declare her sheep in the care of her guardian angel while she attended Mass. Her sheep never strayed or came to harm in her absence.

Germaine was always ready to help others, particularly children with whom she shared her limited food and taught them simple catechism. She was the object of ridicule for her piety. One winter day her stepmother accused her of stealing bread and threatened to beat her with a stick but when Germaine opened her apron - summer flowers tumbled out and neighbours and her family began to treat her as a holy person. They invited her to rejoin the household but Germaine continued to live as she had and at the age of 21 she was found dead on her straw pallet under the stairs. She was buried in the Church of Pibrac and over 400 miracles or extraordinary graces through her intervention have been documented.

Germaine Cousin is the patron saint of victims of; abuse and child abuse, of abandoned people, people with disabilities, against poverty, illness and loss of parents. She is also the patron of girls from rural areas.

Further information on St. Germaine Cousin can be found in Lives of the Saints, The Catholic Encyclopedia or Saints Index on Catholic Forum

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