Germaine was from France, and there she long endured tuberculosis and a deformed hand as a child.
Worse, she was abused and neglected by her father and by her stepmother. Her stepmother forced her to sleep in a cupboard and had to eat scraps from the garbage. She was not fed real meals. Her stepmother also beat her and poured boiling water on her.
Story goes that, while she was working in the fields, the farmhouse was nearby a church. Whenever she heard the church bells ringing, she would throw her staff on the ground and pray to her guardian angel to watch her sheep in her absence, and then she would go off to Mass.
Yet I think Germaine is a saint because one day, right before her stepmother was about to beat her again, Germaine gave her stepmother a rose and said: “Please accept this flower. God sends it to you as a sign of his forgiveness.”
I think we could all stand to pray for abused and neglected children. There are so many things that irritate us, but put those problems next to something like abuse, and we will realize that we ought to just shut up. Join me in this prayer, will you?
God of endless love,
ever caring, ever strong,
always present, always just:
You gave your only Son
to save us by the blood of his cross.
Gentle Jesus, shepherd of peace,
join to your own suffering
the pain of all who have been hurt
in body, mind, and spirit
by those who betrayed the trust placed in them.
Hear our cries as we agonize
over the harm done to our brothers and sisters.
Breathe wisdom into our prayers,
soothe restless hearts with hope,
steady shaken spirits with faith:
Show us the way to justice and wholeness,
enlightened by truth and enfolded in your mercy
Holy Spirit, comforter of hearts,
heal your people’s wounds
and transform our brokenness.
Grant us courage and wisdom, humility and grace
so that we may act with justice
and find peace in you.
We ask this through Christ, our Lord.
St. Germaine Cousin: pray for us and protect the abused!