Germaine Cousin


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Of Pibrac near Toulouse, (1579–1601).

Initially rejected by men and women but ultimately accepted by them, Germaine experienced a short and distressing life. Her mother died when she was very young; her stepmother treated her very harshly; she suffered from a paralyzed right arm and neck-swellings which may have been tuberculous. She was fed on leftovers, slept under the stairs, and was sent to look after sheep when she was old enough.

Uncomplainingly she accepted all this, and in the fields, like other saints, she grew in holiness through prayer and recollection. She helped to teach young children and shared her food with beggars. Gradually village opinion changed and semi-miraculous stories circulated about her. Her family relented too, until one day she was found dead on her pallet under the stairs. Her body was buried at Pibrac, where her relics still rest and are the goal of a pilgrimage. She was both beatified and canonized in the long reign of Pius IX (1846–78) after many reports of healings and miracles. Feast: 15 June.

B.L.S., vi. 115–6;Bibl. SS., vi. 226–7. Lives by F. Veuillot (1923) and M. L. Garnier–Azais (1960).

Subjects: Christianity.

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