Feast Day: June 15
St. Germaine Cousin (1579-1601) is the patron for victims of child abuse and with good reason. Weak and ill from birth with a deformed and paralyzed hand, St. Germaine lost her mother early. And like a Disney movie, she found herself with a cruel and abusive stepmother.
St. Germaine suffered from malnutrition and from burns from her stepmother pouring boiling water on her legs. Predictably, as her health began to fail, she contracted a form of tuberculosis that exacerbated her frailty and increased her susceptibility to illness and disease. The abuse culminated with St. Germaine’s banishment to the barn out of fear that she would pass her sickness to her stepbrothers.
Despite this abuse, however, St. Germaine remained steadfast in her dependence on God. With only a basic knowledge of the faith learned from the catechism, she made a rosary of knots and prayed simply: “Dear God, please don’t let me be too hungry or too thirsty. Help me to please my mother. And help me to please you.” As she grew in holiness and trust in God, she also grew in mercifulness. She was known for sharing her scraps of food with beggars and offering them shelter in the barn in times of harsh weather and she grew in the spirit of forgiveness toward the woman who caused her such pain and suffering: her stepmother.
Throughout a life of hardship and abuse, St. Germaine’s devotion to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament was unshaken by what assailed her in life. It was because of her walking humbly with God that she was able to love mercy and act justly especially with the one person she had most reason to not love.