Since her birth in France, she was marked for suffering. As she came into the world with a deformed hand and the disease of scrofula while yet an infant, her mother died.
Her father soon married again, but his second wife treated Germaine with much cruelty.
Under the pretence of saving her children from the contagion of scrofula, she persuaded the father to keep Germaine away from home and thus, Germaine was employed almost from infancy as a shepherdess.
When she returned at night, her bed was in the stable or on a litter of vine branches in a garret. In this hard way, Germaine learned early to practise humility and patience.
She was gifted with a marvellous sense of the presence of God and of spiritual things, so that her lonely life became to her a source of light and blessing.
To poverty, bodily infirmity, the rigours of the seasons, the lack of affection and love from those in her own home, she added voluntary mortifications and austerities, making bread and water her daily food.
Her love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and for His Virgin Mother helped the saint. She assisted daily at the Holy Mass.
When the bell rang, she will fixed her sheep-hook or distaff in the ground, and leave her flocks to the care of Providence while she heard Mass.
Although the pasture was on the border of a forest infested with wolves, no harm ever came to her flocks.
She practised many austerities as reparation for the sacrileges perpetrated by heretics in the neighbouring churches.
She frequented the Sacraments of Penance and the Holy Eucharist, and it was observed that her piety increased every time on the approach of any feast of Our Lady.
The Rosary was her only companion, and her devotion to the Angelus was so great that she used to fall on her knees at the first sound of the bell, even though she heard it when crossing a stream.
The villagers are said to have inclined at first to treat her piety with mild derision, until certain signs of God’s favour made her an object of reverence and awe.
In winter, after heavy rains or the melting of snow, the roads were at times impassable. On several occasions the swollen waters were seen to open and afford her a passage without wetting her garments.
Notwithstanding her poverty, she found means to help the poor by sharing with them her allowance of bread. Her father at last came to a sense of his duty, forbade her stepmother henceforth to treat her harshly, and wished to give her a place in the home with his other children, but Germaine begged to be allowed to remain in the humbler position.
It was at this time, when men began to realize the beauty and purity of her life, she died. One morning in the early summer of 1601, her father found that she had not risen at the usual hour and went to call her, only to find her dead on her pallet of vine-twigs. She was only 22 years old at the time.
When pure gold is neglected and uncared for, it goes back to the earth. So it is with life and love. When God gives, it is perfect, whether deformed or not, we must appreciate them and love them, otherwise, it is we who will loose the pure gold of our lives. Amen
St. Germaine, pray for us. Happy feast day to all Germaine.
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