Sunday, July 15, 2007

Lives of the Disabled Saints

Bio: St. Germaine Cousin (my favorite disabled saint) is the patron of child abuse
Germaine was born with a right hand that was deformed and paralyzed . Her cruel stepmother severely abused her as her father looked the other way. Germaine was fed so little she learned to crawl to get to the dog's food bowl. Boiling water was poured on her legs by her stepmother. Germaine developed scrofula, a form of TB and became even more vulnerable to mistreatment. Her siblings, who watched her cruel treatment, joined in the abuse.

Her stepmother forced Germaine to sleep out in the barn with the sheep so the other children wouldn't catch her illness. She wasn't allowed to eat at meals but was given scraps of food. Germaine, who was entrusted with the care of the sheep, responded by becoming closer to God. She attended daily Mass. She fashioned a rosary out of knots in string and prayed:

"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."

Germaine shared what little she had with others, giving her scraps of food to beggars. Stories of her holiness spread and her stepmother, angry at this, tried to catch her in doing wrong. After throwing a beggar out from the barn that Germaine let sleep over to stay out of the cold, her stepmother chased and beat Germaine when she saw a bundle in her apron, thinking she stole bread. Beautiful flowers fell out of the apron - flowers not due to bloom for months. Germaine handed one to her mother and said

"Please accept this flower, Mother. God sends it to you in sign of his forgiveness."

Her stepmother softened toward Germaine and invited her back inside the home but Germaine was used to her straw bed in the barn. She died at the age of 22 in 1601.

Her body was found incorrupt when exhumed in 1644. The remains were desecrated in 1793by an anti-Catholic tinsmith named Toulza who threw quick-lime and water on them. Yet her body was found to be still intact except where the quick-lime had done its work afte the French Revolution. She is credited with hundreds of miracles.

[Biography content derived solely from Catholic online and Catholic forum websites]


The Catholic Forum has a list of saints with disabilities and stories on each one. If you're interested, click above.

[visual description: St. Germaine Cousin is shown seated on a rock with a lamb in front of her. She is dressed in a peasant dress and a halo is drawn around her head. ]

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