Spirituality for Today – January 2008 – Volume 12, Issue 6

Saint Of The Month

St. Genevieve of Paris – January 3

A Painting of Saint Genevieve of ParisGenevieve was born around 422 in Nanterre, a small village near Paris. When she was seven, she met Bishop Germanus of Auxerre. When Germanus blessed young Genevieve, she vowed to remain a virgin and dedicate herself to Jesus Christ. At age 15, Genevieve took the veil and began her life of service.

After the death of her parents, Genevieve moved to Paris, where the young nun had visions and prophecies. These visions alienated some of those around her, and critics called Genevieve a fraud and hypocrite. Germanus, however, reaffirmed his faith in her spirituality, and his support helped silence the accusations. Genevieve's acts of charity also won the faith of many, and soon most people believed her visions to be true signs from God.

In 451, Attila the Hun and his troops threatened Paris. Panic-stricken residents prepared to flee, but Genevieve told them their faith could hold off the Huns. She instructed the Parisians to fast and pray. They followed her example, and Attila's forces turned away from Paris.

Later, Frankish troops laid siege to Paris. As famine spread, Genevieve led an expedition out of the city to find food. Slipping back past enemy lines, she returned with corn to feed the hungry. After the Franks took control of Paris, their kings listened to Genevieve's pleas to spare the lives of many prisoners. She also encourage the Frank King Clovis to build a church honoring Saints Peter and Paul, where she was later buried around 500.

But Genevieve's service to Paris still was not over. In 1129, an epidemic swept through the city. Residents paraded her relics through the streets, and the saints intervention is said to have ended the plague.

O Lord,
in times of trouble,
when my heart weighs heavy
with loss or a fear of what is to come,
fill me with Your spirit.
Through You,
Your servant Genevieve
found the strength to inspire others
and give of herself to help those in need.
Grant that I may always share in that faith and strength,
and do Your bidding, through Your Son, Jesus Christ.

From Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives