vendredi 15 juin 2012

Sainte GERMAINE COUSIN (de PIBRAC), vierge


Statue en marbre de sainte-Germaine de Pibrac 
par Alexandre Falguière. Initialement inaugurée en 1877, sur la place Saint-Georges, à Toulouse
 et transféré au dessus du maître autel de l’église Sainte Germaine.

Sainte Germaine Cousin

Laïque ( 1601)

Elle était née scrofuleuse, laide et difforme. Sa mère mourut quelque temps après sa naissance et son père n'avait qu'aversion pour elle. Il se remaria et la belle-mère la haïssait. Ils l'obligèrent à coucher sous l'escalier sur des sarments, lui donnant le minimum de nourriture et lui faisant défense d'adresser la parole aux enfants de sa belle-mère. Il en fut ainsi de l'âge de neuf ans jusqu'à celui de vingt-deux ans où elle mourut. Elle passait son temps avec les bêtes, aux champs. Ne sachant pas lire, elle récitait son chapelet. Mais tous les matins, elle entendait la sainte Messe laissant son troupeau qui jamais ne causa de dégâts chez les voisins, restant dans les limites qu'elle lui marquait avant de partir. Elle parlait avec Dieu et cela était pour elle toute joie. Un matin son père la trouva morte sous l'escalier et, à partir de ce moment, les miracles ne cessèrent d'authentifier sa sainteté. Elle fut canonisée en 1867.

A l'aube du grand siècle de Louis XIV, sainte Germaine Cousin meurt en 1601 à Pibrac, après avoir vécu dans la plus extrême pauvreté. (Diocèse d'Auch - Quelques saints gersois - L'Eglise du Gers et son histoire - texte en pdf)

Orpheline, malade, pauvre, maltraitée par ses proches, elle est la sainte de tous ceux qui souffrent et que la vie malmène d’une manière ou d’une autre... Sainte Germaine est très honorée dans le département du Lot. Rares sont les églises où on ne trouve pas un souvenir de notre bergère sous forme de vitrail, statue, reliquaire ou même cloche baptisée Germaine. (site dédié à Sainte Germaine réalisé grâce aux documents qui font partie du patrimoine de la Paroisse de Pibrac.)

Un internaute nous signale le travail de recherche qu'il a fait: 'Germaine Cousin, une petite bergère, une très grande sainte'

À Pibrac au diocèse de Toulouse, en 1601, sainte Germaine Cousin, vierge. Elle fut, dès son enfance, astreinte à une vie de servitude et frappée de maladies. Elle endura toutes sortes d’épreuves avec courage et un visage joyeux, et mourut pieusement à l’âge de vingt-deux ans.

Martyrologe romain

SOURCE : http://nominis.cef.fr/contenus/saint/1324/Sainte-Germaine-Cousin.html



Sainte Germaine de Pibrac

Germaine Cousin naît à Pibrac (Haute-Garonne) en 1579, scrofuleuse, laide, un peu difforme, la main droite presque paralysée. Sa mère mourut peu après. Son père n'avait qu'aversion pour elle. Sa belle-mère la haïssait. Ils la traitèrent moins bien que leurs animaux domestiques, l'obligeant à coucher à l'étable ou sous l'escalier de la maison et ne lui donnant que du pain sec à manger, avec défense d'adresser la parole aux enfants de la belle-mère. De l'âge de neuf ans à celui de vingt-deux ans où elle mourut, Germaine garda les moutons de son père. Il semble bien qu'elle ne savait pas lire. Mais elle avait toujours son chapelet à la main et assistait chaque jour à la messe. Elle laissait alors ses moutons à la garde de Dieu; et ils étaient si bien gardés que jamais les loups ne lui en dérobèrent un seul. Jamais non plus les moutons n'en profitèrent pour aller brouter chez le voisin, évitant de franchir la limite qu'elle leur fixait avant de partir, en fichant sa houlette en terre. Le Christ qu'elle aimait et qui l'aimait lui parlait au cœur et lui donnait de grandes consolations. Il la tirait d'embarras quand il le fallait, en faisant les miracles qui s'imposaient. Il continua d'en accomplir tellement à sa prière, lorsqu'elle fut au ciel, que Pie IX béatifia (1854) puis canonisa (1867) presque coup sur coup cette humble fille tant méprisée de son vivant. Son père l'ayant trouvée morte un matin de juin 1601 sous l'escalier, elle fut enterrée dans l'église de Pibrac où ses restes sont toujours honorés.

SOURCE : http://www.paroisse-saint-aygulf.fr/index.php/prieres-et-liturgie/saints-par-mois/icalrepeat.detail/2015/06/15/351/-/sainte-germaine-de-pibrac


Statue Sainte Germaine de Pibrac dans la cathédrale, Auch (Gers)

Germaine signifie en latin du même sang (germen).

Deux saintes illustrent ce prénom. Germaine Cousin naquit à Pibrac, près de Toulouse, en 1579. Fille de modestes paysans, de complexion chétive, elle souffrit beaucoup de son entourage, surtout de sa marâtre. Dès l'âge de neuf ans, la petite Germaine doit, par tous les temps, garder les troupeaux. A la maison, elle se contente d'un réduit obscur. Germaine est très pieuse… on la traite de bigote. A ses railleurs, elle répond par des actes de charité, partageant le peu qu'elle possède avec les plus malheureux. Deux miracles font taire les médisants. Un jour, on constate qu'elle traverse le ruisseau sans se mouiller. Une autre fois, soupçonnée de voler le pain de sa famille pour le distribuer, elle ouvre son tablier d'où tombent des fleurs. Germaine, la pauvre de Dieu, est trouvée morte sous un escalier le 15 juin 1601. Elle fut inhumée dans l'église de Pibrac, son pays natal, en Haute-Garonne. Henri Ghéon, auteur d'œuvres consacrées aux saints, a produit en l'honneur de la sainte de Pibrac : "La bergère au pays des loups".

Germaine de Pibrac était née laide, handicapée, la main droite presque paralysée. Elle était la mal-aimée, traitée moins bien qu'un chien. Germaine, vaillante et partageuse, était consolée par l'intimité du Christ vivant en son coeur. Même après sa mort, elle était tombée dans l'oubli malgré ses miracles. Mais "Dieu a choisi ce qui est faible pour confondre les forts et les puissants". Deux siècles et demi après la mort de l'humble bonne à rien et à tout faire, le Pape Pie XI la proclamait sainte et la Jeunesse Agricole Chrétienne Féminine, la J.A.C.F., la prit comme sainte patronne lors de sa fondation. Sainte Germaine de Pibrac trouva toujours sa paix et son réconfort dans la prière. Elle ne se séparait jamais de son chapelet, demeurant dans la compagnie de la Vierge Marie : "Le Seigneur a porté son regard sur sa petite servante... Lui qui élève les humbles".

Rédacteur: Frère Bernard Pineau, OP




SAINTE GERMAINE COUSIN

Vierge, Bergère

(1579-1601)

Germaine Cousin naquit à Pribrac, non loin de Toulouse. Sa courte vie de vingt-deux ans est une merveille de la grâce. Fille d'un pauvre laboureur, percluse de la main droite, scrofuleuse, elle fut, pour comble de malheur, privée de sa mère, à peine sortie du berceau. La petite orpheline devint l'objet de la haine et du mépris d'une belle-mère acariâtre et sans coeur; la douleur, née avec elle, devait être sa compagne jusqu'à la mort. Cette pauvre ignorante fut instruite par Dieu même dans la science de la prière.

Bergère des troupeaux de la famille, elle passait son temps en conversations avec le Ciel; le chapelet était son seul livre; la Sainte Vierge était sa Mère, les Anges ses amis, l'Eucharistie sa vie. Souvent on la vit agenouillée dans la neige, traversant à pied sec le ruisseau voisin sans se mouiller, pour se rendre à l'église, où elle assistait chaque jour au Saint Sacrifice et communiait souvent, pendant que ses brebis paissaient tranquilles autour de sa quenouille plantée en terre. Charitable pour les pauvres, elle leur donnait son pauvre pain noir, ne vivant guère que de l'amour de Dieu; et, un jour, le Ciel renouvela pour elle le miracle des roses devant les yeux de son impitoyable marâtre.

A sa mort, les Anges et les Vierges célestes chantèrent au-dessus de sa maison. Quarante ans plus tard, on trouva, comme par hasard, mais providentiellement, son corps intact avec un bouquet de fleurs fraîches, sous les dalles de l'église de sa paroisse. Elle est devenue une des grandes Thaumaturges et une des Saintes les plus populaires de la France.

Abbé L. Jaud, Vie des Saints pour tous les jours de l'année, Tours, Mame, 1950.

SOURCE : http://magnificat.ca/cal/fr/saints/sainte_germaine_cousin.html


Sainte Germaine Cousin, la maltraitée de Pibrac

La famille Cousin dont le père s’appelait Laurent et la mère Marie Laroche vivait à Pibrac, vers l’an 1579, dans un petit village à quelques kilomètres de Toulouse.

Quand Germaine naquit, la pauvre petite avait des scrofules et, comme on dirait aujourd’hui, elle était handicapée de sa main droite qui était atrophiée. De plus, elle était à peine née que sa mère mourut. Ca commence bien !

Peu de temps après, son père se remaria et eut des enfants de la seconde femme. Celle-ci n’eut, pour Germaine, que des regards de haine. Ainsi, Germaine, déjà orpheline fut placée sous le joug d’une cruelle marâtre.

Pour nous consoler, les Petits Bollandistes écrivent “Elle aima la douleur comme une soeur née avec elle, placée avec elle dans le berceau, et qui fut sa constante et unique compagne depuis son premier cri jusqu’à son dernier soupir.”

Sous prétexte que Germaine avait des scrofules et que c’était contagieux, la belle-mère ne voulait pas que Germaine vive avec ses propres filles.

Elle persuada son mari de lui faire garder les troupeaux. Comme ça, elle serait toujours dehors et loin de ses demi-soeurs. Quand elle était à la maison, elle devait manger dans l’étable ou par terre au fond du couloir.

Il lui était interdit d’avoir des contacts avec ses soeurs que pourtant, paraît-il, elle aimait tendrement. Elle n’avait aucune jalousie des préférences dont ses soeurs étaient l’objet. Mais que faisait donc son père ? Elle était donc toujours par monts et par vaux, gardant les moutons par tous les temps, supportant le froid comme la chaleur.

Tous les jours elle allait à la messe. Elle plantait sa quenouille en terre et la quenouille gardait les moutons. Les loups étaient nombreux dans la région mais jamais un loup ne lui enleva de mouton. Malgré cela, la marâtre n’arrêtait pas de lui reprocher sa négligence lorsqu’elle allait à l’église en laissant ses moutons.

Pour aller à l’église, elle devait passer un gros ruisseau. Mais rien ne l’arrêtait. Un jour que le ruisseau était extrêmement gonflé, des paysans qui la voyaient venir se demandaient, d’un ton railleur comment elle ferait pour passer. O surprise ! les eaux s’ouvrirent devant elle et elle traversa sans même mouiller sa robe.

Bien qu’elle n’avait pas beaucoup de nourriture, elle les partageait avec des pauvres. Sa marâtre l’accusa de voler le pain de la maison. Un jour de plein hiver, la marâtre croit s’apercevoir que Germaine avait emporté du pain dans son tablier. Elle courut après, en furie, avec un bâton. Des voisins la virent et devinèrent ses intentions. Ils s’empressèrent de la rattraper avant qu’elle puisse frapper Germaine. Ils la rejoignirent et il fallut qu’elle ouvre son tablier. Mais à la place de pain, apparut un joli bouquet de roses.

Les voisins allèrent raconter le fait au village. Depuis, son père interdit à sa femme de battre Germaine. Il lui proposa même de loger dans la maison mais elle refusa et continua à dormir dans son appentis, sous l’escalier. (Cf. Saint Alexis au 17 février)

Un matin que son père ne l’avait pas vu sortir comme d’habitude, il alla voir sous l’escalier et la trouva morte sur son lit de sarment. Elle avait 22 ans.

On raconte que la nuit même de sa mort, deux religieux qui allaient vers Pibrac, furent surpris par l’obscurité et s’arrêtèrent dans les ruines du château. Ils virent passer deux jeunes filles, vêtues de blanc, qui se dirigeaient vers la ferme Cousin. Quelques instants plus tard, les apparitions reprirent le chemin inverse mais à la place de deux, il y en avait trois dont l’une était couronnée de fleurs.

Elle fut enterrée dans l’église de Pibrac, en face de la chaire, sous les dalles du sol, sans aucune inscription. Peu à peu, on l’oublia ainsi que le lieu exact où elle avait été enterrée.

Vers l’an 1644, à l’occasion de funérailles, le sonneur se disposait à creuser une fosse dans l’église. A peine avait-il soulevé une première dalle qu’un corps enseveli se montra. Le sonneur effrayé se mit à crier. Cela attira quelques personnes qui constatèrent que l’endroit du visage qui avait été touché par la pioche offrait l’aspect de la chair vive. Le corps fut ensuite découvert complètement. Il était entier et préservé de la corruption. Les ongles des pieds étaient parfaitement adhérents. Même les fleurs qu’elle tenait dans sa main n’étaient que légèrement fanées. A la difformité d’une de ses mains et aux blessures du cou, on reconnut le corps de Germaine Cousin qui était là depuis 43 ans.

On plaça le cadavre - tellement frais - debout près de la chaire, devant le banc des notables, exposé à la vue de tout le monde.

Un an plus tard, une des notables, Marie de Clément Gras, épouse de noble François de Beauregard, se mit à rechigner parce que Germaine était placée juste à côté du banc qu’elle occupait à l’église. Sans doute pas trop loin du poële ! Elle ordonnât qu’on éloignât la Germaine.

Bien mal lui en prit. Elle attrapa un ulcère au sein et l’enfant qu’elle nourrissait devint malade et fut presque moribond. On fit venir des médecins de Toulouse. Rien à faire. Alors, son mari lui rappela le mépris qu’elle avait eu pour la pauvre Germaine et se demanda si Dieu n’avait pas été offensé et voulait la punir par le mal dont elle souffrait.

Marie Gras demanda alors pardon. Durant la nuit suivante, elle se réveilla et vit une grande clarté dans sa chambre. Elle crût voir Germaine qui lui prédit la guérison de son enfant. Elle regarda son sein. La plaie était presque fermée. Elle fit venir son enfant, il était guéri et téta abondamment le lait qu’il refusait depuis longtemps.

Le lendemain, elle offrit une caisse de plomb où l’on plaça le corps de Germaine. Il fut porté dans la sacristie. Et on l’oublia encore. Germaine était décidément faite pour être délaissée et oubliée.

Le 22 septembre 1661, le vicaire général de l’archevêque de Toulouse, Jean Dufour, vint à Pibrac. Il était entré dans la sacristie et fut étonné de voir un cercueil en pareil lieu. Il le fit ouvrir et l’on trouva Germaine aussi fraîche que 16 ans auparavant.

Alors on lui raconta tous les détails de sa vie et la manière dont elle avait été retrouvée. Il fit même creuser sous l’église, à l’endroit où Germaine avait été retrouvée. Il y avait d’autres corps à l’état de squelette. On ne pouvait donc plus douter du miracle.

De fil en aiguille, à la suite de nombreux miracles, on demanda la canonisation en 1700.

A la révolution, en 1793, un fabricant d’étain et quatre hommes enlevèrent le cercueil de Germaine pour en faire des balles. Ils retirèrent le corps qu’ils enfouirent dans la sacristie en jetant dessus de l’eau et de la chaux vive. Mais peu après, un des hommes fut paralysé d’un bras, l’autre devint difforme, son cou se raidit et sa tête se tourna vers l’une de ses épaules. Le troisième fut atteint d’un mal de reins qui l’obligea à se plier en deux et porter cette infirmité jusqu’à son tombeau. Les deux autres implorèrent Germaine pour obtenir son pardon, ce qu’elle fit.

Quelques temps après la révolution, le maire de Pibrac, Jean Cabriforce, à la demande de la population, fit ouvrir la fosse. On découvrit une fois de plus Germaine, mais cette fois les chairs avaient été fort atteintes par la chaux. On mit notre Germaine dans un beau nouveau suaire et on la replaça dans la sacristie.

Quelques années plus tard, un pèlerinage attira les foules. Après bien des aventures turbulentes où le corps de Germaine fut “transbahuté” à différents endroits, et où l’on put dresser une liste impressionnante de miracles, le procès en béatification reprit son cours et Germaine fut béatifiée par Pie IX le 7 mai 1854.

Il paraît qu’elle ne savait pas lire.

On la représente avec une houlette, un mouton, une quenouille et aussi avec un tablier sur lequel on peut voir un bouquet de roses.

Elle une des patronnes des bergers.

SOURCE : http://carmina-carmina.com/carmina/Mytholosaintes/germaine.htm


Fille d'un modeste laboureur, Germaine naît à Frouzins petit village près de Toulouse, en 1579.

Atteinte de scrofules (adénopathie tuberculeuse), elle a aussi une main atrophiée. Sa mère meurt alors qu'elle était encore très jeune. Son père se remarie et dès lors, elle subira les humiliations de sa belle-mère, acariâtre, et sera reléguée dans un appentis, loin de la vie familiale.

Elle persuada son père de l'envoyer garder les troupeaux, où là, dans la nature, elle pouvait réciter son chapelet et trouver le réconfort dans la prière. Tous les jours elle allait à la messe.

Elle donnait le peu de pain qu'elle avait aux pauvres. Un jour de 1601, son père la trouva morte dans le réduit où on l'obligeait à dormir. Elle avait 22 ans. Elle fut enterrée dans l'église de Pibrac, et peu à peu tout le monde oublia l'existence de cette sépulture.

Les miracles de son vivant :

• Elle plantait sa quenouille en terre et la quenouille gardait les moutons ; jamais une brebis ne s'égara, et jamais non plus les loups, pourtant nombreux dans la région à cette époque, n'attaquèrent le troupeau.

• Pour aller à l’église, elle devait passer un gros ruisseau. Un jour que le ruisseau était en crue, des paysans qui la voyaient venir se demandaient, d’un ton railleur comment elle ferait pour passer. Les eaux s’ouvrirent devant elle et elle traversa sans même mouiller sa robe.

• Un jour, sa marâtre l'accusa de voler du pain. Elle la poursuivit afin de la frapper et de la confondre, malgré l'insistance de voisins qui voulaient la retenir. Quand celle-ci rattrapa Germaine et lui fit ouvrir son tablier, à la place du pain qu'elle pensait y trouver s'étalait une brassée de roses. Son père fut alors ébranlé, il interdit à sa femme de frapper Germaine et lui demanda de réintégrer la maison ailleurs que dans le grabat qu'elle occupait. Elle refusa.

• La nuit de sa mort, on raconte que deux religieux en route pour Pibrac à la nuit tombée, virent passer en direction de la maison de Laurent Cousin deux jeunes filles vêtues de blanc. Le lendemain matin, alors qu'ils reprenaient leur route, ils virent ressortir trois jeunes filles, dont l'une, encadrée par les deux autres, était couronnée de fleurs.

Les Miracles après sa mort :

En 1644, alors que le sacristain se préparait à organiser des funérailles en creusant une fosse, il tomba sur un corps enseveli dont la fraîcheur le stupéfia. Même les fleurs que la morte tenait étaient à peine fanées. A la difformité de sa main, aux cicatrices des ganglions de son cou, on reconnut Germaine Cousin. Toutefois, son corps fut déposé dans un cercueil de plomb, offert par une paroissienne guérie par l'intercession de la sainte, et déposé dans la sacristie où il demeura, à nouveau oublié, encore seize ans.

Le 22 septembre 1661, le vicaire général de l’archevêque de Toulouse, Jean Dufour, vint à Pibrac. Il s'étonna de voir ce cercueil resté dans la sacristie, le fit ouvrir, et découvrit que la sainte présentait toujours le même état de fraîcheur. Il fit creuser tout autour de là où le corps avait été trouvé, et tous les morts enterrés au même endroit n'étaient plus que des squelettes. Ébranlé par ce miracle, le vicaire général demanda la canonisation de Germaine en 1700.

Sa dépouille subit encore de nombreuses pérégrinations accompagnés de plusieurs miracles.

A Pibrac, une basilique a été élevée en son honneur. La maison natale de Germaine Cousin existe toujours. Elle est située à environ 2 kilomètres du village de Pibrac. Récemment restaurée, on peut la visiter.



Neuvaine à sainte Germaine de Pibrac

À réciter pendant 9 jours devant une statue de sainte Germaine ou devant son image


Sainte Germaine, qui avez eu la douleur perdre votre mère bien-aimée à l’âge de cinq ans, laquelle fut remplacée par une marâtre qui vous prit en aversion, priez pour l’union harmonieuse de nos foyers.


Sainte Germaine, qui n’avez pas eu la joie de grandir dans une famille unie, priez pour l’union harmonieuse de nos foyers.


Sainte Germaine, qui avez trouvé le secret de votre paix et de votre force dans la pratique quotidienne du saint Sacrifice de la messe, de la visite au Saint-Sacrement et du Rosaire médité, priez pour l’union harmonieuse de nos foyers.


Sainte Germaine, qui avez souffert avec une admirable patience la maladie des écrouelles et la mise à l’écart, ainsi que l’isolement du cœur qui en découlait, priez pour l’union harmonieuse de nos foyers.


Sainte Germaine, qui avez souffert avec une admirable patience le traitement dur et injuste de votre marâtre, sans jamais vous plaindre, trouvant votre soutien seulement dans la méditation de la Passion du Sauveur, priez pour l’union harmonieuse de nos foyers.


Sainte Germaine, qui viviez dans une extrême pauvreté, vous nourrissant seulement de pain noir et dormant sur quelques fagots de sarments disposés sous un escalier, sans jamais vous plaindre, priez pour l’union harmonieuse de nos foyers.


Sainte Germaine, modèle d’obéissance prompte et de fidélité au devoir d’état, malgré vos infirmités, priez pour l’union harmonieuse de nos foyers.


Sainte Germaine, remplie d’une extrême charité pour les mendiants, charité que Dieu couronna par le miracle des fleurs dans votre tablier, priez pour l’union harmonieuse de nos foyers.


Sainte Germaine, qui êtes morte comme vous aviez vécu : dans la solitude, priez pour l’union harmonieuse de nos foyers.


Sainte Germaine, dont le corps virginal fut protégé par Dieu de la corruption naturelle et de la destruction par la malice des hommes, en 1793 et en 2000, préservez-nous de toute division familiale.


Prière

Ô sainte Germaine qui avez triomphé de la souffrance et de l’isolement du cœur par la patience et la charité, obtenez-nous des grâces abondantes d’esprit de sacrifice de soi et d’amour mutuel, pour réaliser des unions stables et harmonieuses dans nos foyers.


1 Notre Père, 3 Je Vous salue Marie, 1 Gloire au Père.

Souvenez-vous à Sainte Germaine

Souvenez-vous, ô très douce Germaine, de vos frères et de vos soeurs qui gémissent et qui souffrent dans cette vallée de larmes. Souvenez-vous qu'ils espèrent en vous, qu'ils attendent de vous secours dans leurs épreuves, consolation dans leurs douleurs. Souvenez-vous que vous aussi avez gémi, que vous aussi avez pleuré, que vous aussi avez connu la pauvreté, l'isolement, l'humiliation et la souffrance. Et maintenant, dans votre gloire, souvenez-vous de nos misères; dans votre puissance, souvenez-vous de notre infirmité; dans votre bonheur, souvenez-vous de nos larmes! Formez-nous à l'école de votre douceur, de votre patience, de votre foi, de votre charité. Puis, au sortir de ce monde, recevez-nous dans l'éternelle Patrie.

SOURCE : http://imagessaintes.canalblog.com/archives/2009/06/28/14233509.html



St. Germaine Cousin

Born in 1579 of humble parents at Pibrac, a village about ten miles from Toulouse; died in her native place in 1601. From her birth she seemed marked out for suffering; she came into the world with a deformed hand and the disease of scrofula, and, while yet an infant, lost her mother. Her father soon married again, but his second wife treated Germaine with much cruelty. Under pretence of saving the other children from the contagion of scrofula she persuaded the father to keep Germaine away from the homestead, and thus the child was employed almost from infancy as a shepherdess. When she returned at night, her bed was in the stable or on a litter of vine branches in a garret. In this hard school Germaine learned early to practise humility and patience. She wasgifted with a marvellous sense of the presence of God and of spiritual things, so that her lonely life became to her a source of light and blessing. To poverty, bodily infirmity, the rigours of the seasons, the lack of affection from those in her own home, she added voluntary mortifications and austerities, making bread and water her daily food. Her love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and for His Virgin Mother presaged the saint. She assisted daily at the Holy Sacrifice; when the bell rang, she fixed her sheep-hook or distaff in the ground, and left her flocks to the care of Providence while she heard Mass. Although the pasture was on the border of a forest infested with wolves, no harm ever came to her flocks.


She is said to have practised many austerities as a reparation for the sacrileges perpetrated by heretics in the neighbouring churches. She frequented the Sacraments of Penance and the Holy Eucharist, and it was observed that her piety increased on the approach of every feast of Our Lady. The Rosary was her only book, and herdevotion to the Angelus was so great that she used to fall on her knees at the first sound of the bell, even though she heard it when crossing a stream. Whenever she could do so, she assembled the children of the village around her and sought to instill into their minds the love of Jesus and Mary. The villagers were inclined at first to treat her piety with mild derision, until certain signs of God's signal favour made her an object of reverence and awe. In repairing to the village church she had to cross a stream. The ford in winter, after heavy rains or the melting of snow, was at times impassable. On several occasions the swollen waters were seen to open and afford her a passage without wetting her garments. Notwithstanding her poverty she found means to help the poor by sharing with them her allowance of bread. Her father at last came to a sense of his duty, forbade her stepmother henceforth to treat her harshly, and wished to give her a place in the home with the other children, but she begged to be allowed to remain in the humbler position. At this point, when men were beginning to realize the beauty of her life, God called her to Himself. One morning in the early summer of 1601, her father finding that she had not risen at the usual hour went to call her; he found her dead on her pallet of vine-twigs. She was then twenty-two years of age.

Her remains were buried in the parish church of Pibrac in front of the pulpit. In 1644, when the grave was opened to receive one of her relatives, the body of Germaine was discovered fresh and perfectly preserved, andmiraculously raised almost to the level of the floor of the church. It was exposed for public view near the pulpit, until a noble lady, the wife of François de Beauregard, presented as a thanks-offering a casket of lead to hold the remains. She had been cured of a malignant and incurable ulcer in the breast, and her infant son whose life was despaired of was restored to health on her seeking the intercession of Germaine. This was the first of a long series of wonderful cures wrought at her relics. The leaden casket was placed in the sacristy, and in 1661 and 1700 the remains were viewed and found fresh and intact by the vicars-general of Toulouse, who have left testamentary depositions of the fact. Expert medical evidence deposed that the body had not been embalmed, and experimental tests showed that the preservation was not due to any property inherent in the soil. In 1700 a movement was begun to procure the beatification of Germaine, but it fell through owing to accidental causes. In 1793 the casket was desecrated by a revolutionary tinsmith, named Toulza, who with three accomplices took out the remains and buried them in the sacristy, throwing quick-lime and water on them. After the Revolution, her body was found to be still intact save where the quick-lime had done its work.

The private veneration of Germaine had continued from the original finding of the body in 1644, supported and encouraged by numerous cures and miracles. The cause of beatification was resumed in 1850. The documents attested more than 400 miracles or extraordinary graces, and thirty postulatory letters from archbishops andbishops in France besought the beatification from the Holy See. The miracles attested were cures of every kind (of blindness, congenital and resulting from disease, of hip and spinal disease), besides the multiplication of food for the distressed community of the Good Shepherd at Bourges in 1845. On 7 May, 1854, Pius IX proclaimed herbeatification, and on 29 June, 1867, placed her on the canon of virgin saints. Her feast is kept in the Diocese ofToulouse on 15 June. She is represented in art with a shepherd's crook or with a distaff; with a watchdog, or a sheep; or with flowers in her apron.

Sources
GUÉRIN in Petits Bollandistes, 15 June; VEUILLOT, Vie de la bienheureuse Germaine (2d ed., Paris, 1904).

Mulcahy, Cornelius. "St. Germaine Cousin." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 6. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909.1 Apr. 2015 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06474a.htm>.


Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Elizabeth T. Knuth. Dedicated to Olivier Joseph.


Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. September 1, 1909. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York.

SOURCE : http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06474a.htm


Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Sainte Germaine Cousin bergère de Pibrac, 1856 
Montauban église Saint-Étienne de Sapiac


St. Germaine Cousin,

Patroness of the Abandoned

A story for children about God's love for those who are mistreated.

St. Germaine Cousin was the daughter of Laurent and Marie. Laurent, a lowly farm worker, and his wife Marie lived in a little village name Pibrac near Toulouse, France. In the year 1579 St. Germaine was born. The times were very hard for people in the French countryside at that time. There were wars going on, people were very poor and there wasn't much food. There was even a plague. A plague is when a great many people get sick with the same disease and die. When St. Germaine was still very small, her mother died, probably because of the plague.

St. Germaine was certainly very lonely being without her mother, but there were even more things for her to deal with besides the loss of her mother. She was also very sick as a child. Not only this, but her right hand was deformed so that she couldn't use it and she had a disease known as "scrofula" which left a large, ugly lump on her neck. This disease is not common anymore, but at that time in France it was common. People were very ignorant about diseases back then and they called scrofula "the King's Evil". People were not very nice to St. Germaine because of the way she looked to them, with this lump on her neck. Although the lump itself was not painful, the way people treated her because of it must have been hard for St. Germaine to deal with.

St. Germaine's father got married again after his wife died, but the new family was very mean to her, especially the step-mother. St. Germaine's father allowed them to be mean to her. They even made her sleep in the barn under a stairway and she was not allowed to eat with the others in the family. She was fed only scraps of food that were left over from what the others had eaten. The step-mother was not only unkind to St. Germaine. She would beat her, too, and leave bruises on her.

When she was only nine years old, St. Germaine was put to work watching the family's flock of sheep. In order to get to the fields where the sheep were, she had to walk through the Bouconne Forest. This was very dangerous because there were wolves in the forest, so St. Germaine had to put her trust in God for protection every time she went to and from the fields. She also had to spin wool while watching the sheep. She was told how much work to do and if she didn't finish it all, she was punished severely. St. Germaine prayed a lot while she was watching the sheep and she made her own Rosary out of a piece of string by tying knots in it.

St. Germaine never wanted to miss Mass even though she was in charge of the flock. When the bell rang for Mass at the Church of St. Mary Magdalen, she would pray and ask her guardian angel to look after the sheep while she was at Mass. The sheep never got hurt while she was at Mass even though there were wolves about. Through the Church, St. Germaine learned all about the love of God. One of the important things she learned was that sufferings bring grace. All of the sufferings we must go through in life have meaning to God because of His great love for us. Those who suffer in innocence will surely be rewarded with a shining crown in heaven thanks to what Jesus has done on the Cross for us all. Perhaps it is because everyone else was so mean to her that St. Germaine was able to see how very much God loves her and it was through the Church that she learned about this great love. For this reason, St. Germaine never ever wanted to miss going to Mass to learn more about God and to receive Him in the Eucharist.

St. Germaine had very little to share except her love of God, so she taught the catechism to the children she would meet in the fields. She would teach them about the goodness of God by sharing with them the little food that she had. People laughed at her as she did this but St. Germaine did not show anger toward them. She remained silent. She was able to do this because she knew how very much God loved her even if no one else seemed to.

St. Germaine performed many miracles even during her lifetime. Once, there had been a heavy rain and the river which she had to cross to go to Mass was swollen and running swiftly. She should not have been able to cross it and some who knew she would try to cross it to get to Mass came to laugh at her. St. Germaine was very brave and faithful, though, and stepped into the river to go to Mass. Those who had come to laugh at her later said that the waters had parted in front of St. Germaine to allow her to cross.

St. Germaine's stepmother accused her once of stealing food, and when St. Germaine opened her apron, many flowers fell out of it. Since this was in the wintertime, everyone was amazed by it and people began to believe that she must be a very holy young woman. Even her parents started to believe it and offered to treat her more kindly and let her live in the house with them, but St. Germaine chose to live as she had always lived before, sleeping under the stairs. This is where she died, on a bed of straw. She was only 22 years old.

After St. Germaine died, people began to realize more and more how special she had been. They believed she must be a saint and began to ask for her help. When we ask for the help of a saint, the saint's help is called "intercession". Over 400 miracles are believed to have happened because of the intercession of St. Germaine.

During a time when money and fame were the kinds of glory people wanted -- much like today, right? -- St. Germaine was the opposite of that. She was very poor, not educated except in the teachings of the Faith, very sick and crippled and she was hated even by her own family. She seemed to have no one who cared, but she knew that no matter how horrible things were for her, God loved her and He was there for her. She loved Him so much in return that she did just as Jesus asked by treating people kindly, no matter how badly they treated her. For this, St. Germaine received real glory that comes from God -- a place in heaven with all the saints -- and she will never be lonely or sick or abused again but have a crown of glory with Jesus.

The Lesson of St. Germaine -- Do not fear loneliness or mistreatment of any kind because God has created you to receive His love. God's love is enough for us, so do not fear when you do not receive it from others. Remember, too, to be very grateful if you have a family who treats you well and not like St. Germaine's family treated her. Seek God's love always and pass God's love on to others. God has promised to reward those in heaven who follow Him on earth as St. Germaine did.




Saint Germaine Cousin

Also known as

• Germana Cousin

• Germaine of Pibrac

• Germana

Memorial

• 15 June

Profile

Daughter of Laurent Cousin, a farm worker, and Marie Laroche. Her mother died while Germaine was an infant. A sickly child, Germaine suffered from scrofula, and her right hand was deformed. Ignored by her father and abused by her step-family, she was often forced to sleep in the stable or in a cupboard under the stairs, was fed on scraps, beaten or scalded with hot water for misdeeds, real or imagined.

At age nine Germaine was put to work as a shepherdess, where she spent much time praying, sometimes using a rosary she made from a knotted string. She refused to miss Mass, and if she heard the bell announcing services, she set her crook and her distaff in the ground, declared her flock to be under the care of her guardian angel, and went to church; her sheep were unharmed during her absences. It is reported that once she crossed the raging Courbet River by walking over the waters so she could get to church.

Germaine was so poor it is hard to imagine she would be able to help others, but she was always ready to try, especially children whom she gathered in the fields to teach a simple catechism and share the little food she had. The locals laughed at her religious devotion, and called her ‘the little bigot’.

Once in winter, her stepmother, Hortense, accused her of stealing bread by hiding it in her apron, and threatened to beat her with a stick. Germaine opened her apron, and summer flowers tumbled out. Her parents and neighbors were awed by the obvious miracle, and began to treat her as a holy person. Her parents invited her to rejoin the household, but Germaine chose to live as she had.

In 1601 she was found dead on her straw pallet under the stairs, and she was buried in the Church of Pibrac opposite the pulpit. When accidentally exhumed in 1644 during a renovation, her body was found incorrupt. In 1793 the casket was desecrated by an anti-Catholic tinsmith named Toulza, who with three accomplices took out the remains and buried them in the sacristy, throwing quick-lime and water on them. After the French Revolution, her body was found to be still intact save where the quick-lime had done its work.

Documents attest to more than 400 miracles or extraordinary graces received through the intervention of Saint Germain. They include cures of every kind (of blindness, both congenital and resulting from disease, of hip and of spinal disease), and the multiplication of food for the distressed community of the Good Shepherd at Bourges, France in 1845.

Born

• 1579 at Pibrac, France

Died

• 1601 in her parents’ home in Pibrac, France, apparently of natural causes

• relics interred in the church at Pibrac

Beatified

• 7 May 1864 by Pope Blessed Pius IX

Canonized

• 29 June 1867 by Pope Blessed Pius IX

Patronage

• abandoned people

• abuse victims

• against bodily ills

• against illness

• against impoverishment

• against poverty

• against sickness

• child abuse victims

• disabled people

• girls from rural areas

• handicapped people

• loss of parents

• peasant girls

• physically challenged people

• poor people

• shepherdesses

• sick people

• unattractive people

• victims of abuse

• victims of child abuse

• young country girls

Prayers

Prayer to Saint Germaine Cousin

Representation

• girl with a distaff

• girl with a sheep

• girl with a shepherd‘s crook

• girl with a watchdog

• girl with flowers in her apron

• peasant girl dying alone in poverty

• peasant girl tending sheep

• peasant girl with flowers falling around her in winter
(…)

Readings

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. - prayer of Saint Germaine

MLA Citation

• “Saint Germaine Cousin“. Saints.SQPN.com. 11 April 2013. Web. 15 June 2013. < http://saints.sqpn.com/saint-germaine-cousin/>



Raoul Du faure de Pibrac. « La mort de sainte Germaine », 1910, 
huile sur toile, Église Sainte-Marie-Madeleine de Pibrac


St. Germaine Cousin

Born in 1579 of humble parents at Pibrac, a village about ten miles from Toulouse; died in her native place in 1601. From her birth she seemed marked out for suffering; she came into the world with a deformed hand and the disease of scrofula, and, while yet an infant, lost her mother. Her father soon married again, but his second wife treated Germaine with much cruelty.

Under pretence of saving the other children from the contagion of scrofula she persuaded the father to keep Germaine away from the homestead, and thus the child was employed almost from infancy as a shepherdess. When she returned at night, her bed was in the stable or on a litter of vine branches in a garret. In this hard school Germaine learned early to practise humility and patience. She was gifted with a marvellous sense of the presence of God and of spiritual things, so that her lonely life became to her a source of light and blessing. To poverty, bodily infirmity, the rigours of the seasons, the lack of affection from those in her own home, she added voluntary mortifications and austerities, making bread and water her daily food. Her love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and for His Virgin Mother presaged the saint. She assisted daily at the Holy Sacrifice; when the bell rang, she fixed her sheep-hook or distaff in the ground, and left her flocks to the care of Providence while she heard Mass. Although the pasture was on the border of a forest infested with wolves, no harm ever came to her flocks.

She is said to have practised many austerities as a reparation for the sacrileges perpetrated by heretics in the neighbouring churches. She frequented the Sacraments of Penance and the Holy Eucharist, and it was observed that her piety increased on the approach of every feast of Our Lady. The Rosary was her only book, and her devotion to the Angelus was so great that she used to fall on her knees at the first sound of the bell, even though she heard it when crossing a stream. Whenever she could do so, she assembled the children of the village around her and sought to instil into their minds the love of Jesus and Mary.

The villagers were inclined at first to treat her piety with mild derision, until certain signs of God’s signal favour made her an object of reverence and awe. In repairing to the village church she had to cross a stream. The ford in winter, after heavy rains or the melting of snow, was at times impassable. On several occasions the swollen waters were seen to open and afford her a passage without wetting her garments. Notwithstanding her poverty she found means to help the poor by sharing with them her allowance of bread. Her father at last came to a sense of his duty, forbade her stepmother henceforth to treat her harshly, and wished to give her a place in the home with the other children, but she begged to be allowed to remain in the humbler position. At this point, when men were beginning to realize the beauty of her life, God called her to Himself. One morning in the early summer of 1601, her father finding that she had not risen at the usual hour went to call her; he found her dead on her pallet of vine-twigs. She was then twenty-two years of age.

Her remains were buried in the parish church of Pibrac in front of the pulpit. In 1644, when the grave was opened to receive one of her relatives, the body of Germaine was discovered fresh and perfectly preserved, and miraculously raised almost to the level of the floor of the church. It was exposed for public view near the pulpit, until a noble lady, the wife of François de Beauregard, presented as a thanks-offering a casket of lead to hold the remains. She had been cured of a malignant and incurable ulcer in the breast, and her infant son whose life was despaired of was restored to health on her seeking the intercession of Germaine. This was the first of a long series of wonderful cures wrought at her relics.

The leaden casket was placed in the sacristy, and in 1661 and 1700 the remains were viewed and found fresh and intact by the vicars-general of Toulouse, who have left testamentary depositions of the fact. Expert medical evidence deposed that the body had not been embalmed, and experimental tests showed that the preservation was not due to any property inherent in the soil. In 1700 a movement was begun to procure the beatification of Germaine, but it fell through owing to accidental causes. In 1793 the casket was desecrated by a revolutionary tinsmith, named Toulza, who with three accomplices took out the remains and buried them in the sacristy, throwing quick-lime and water on them. After the Revolution, her body was found to be still intact save where the quick-lime had done its work.

The private veneration of Germaine had continued from the original finding of the body in 1644, supported and encouraged by numerous cures and miracles. The cause of beatification was resumed in 1850. The documents attested more than 400 miracles or extraordinary graces, and thirty postulatory letters from archbishops and bishops in France besought the beatification from the Holy See. The miracles attested were cures of every kind (of blindness, congenital and resulting from disease, of hip and spinal disease), besides the multiplication of food for the distressed community of the Good Shepherd at Bourges in 1845. On 7 May, 1854, Pius IX proclaimed her beatification, and on 29 June, 1867, placed her on the canon of virgin saints. Her feast is kept in the Diocese of Toulouse on 15 June. She is represented in art with a shepherd’s crook or with a distaff; with a watchdog, or a sheep; or with flowers in her apron.




Germaine Cousin V (RM)
(also known as Germana of Pibrac)


Born at Pibrac (near Toulouse), France, in 1579; died 1601; beatified on May 7, 1854; canonized on June 29, 1867 by Pope Pius IX. Saint Germaine was the daughter of Laurent Cousin, a farm worker, and his wife, Marie Laroche. Her mother died while she was still an infant. A sickly child, she suffered scrofula among other conditions, and her right hand was deformed. Her father and his second wife (or her half-brother's wife) treated her badly. After her stepmother's children were born, Germaine was kept isolated from her siblings. She slept in the stable or in a cupboard under the stairs and was poorly fed on scraps. At the age of nine, Germaine was put to work as a shepherdess, which is not a terrible business for one who liked to pray.


Germaine was very devout, however, and refused to miss Mass. If she heard the bell calling the faithful to Mass while she was tending the sheep, she set her crook and her distaff in the earth, declared her flock to be under the care of her guardian angel, and went to church. Her sheep never came to any harm during her absences, even though ravening wolves inhabited the nearby forest of Boucône. It is reported that once she crossed the raging Courbet River by walking over the waters so that she could get to church.

Germaine was so poor that it is hard to imagine she would have the resources to exercise the corporal works of mercy. Yet love can always find a way. She was always ready to lend a hand to anyone needing it, especially the children whom she would gather in the fields to teach a simple catechism. She shared what little food she received with those poorer than herself.

The neighbors laughed at her religious devotion and called her 'the little bigot'; Germaine took it all in good humor. Once in the winter her stepmother accused her of stealing bread and pursued her threateningly with a stick. When Germaine opened her apron, summer flowers tumbled out. The neighbors and her parents were awed and began to treat her as a holy person. Her parents invited her to rejoin the household, but Germaine chose to continue living as before.

At 22, she was found dead on her straw pallet under the stairs. Her body was buried in the Church of Pibrac opposite the pulpit. When it was accidentally exhumed in 1644 by workmen renovating the church and identified by the withered hand, it was found incorrupt. After being exposed for one year for veneration, her relics were transferred to a leaden coffin and placed in the sacristy. Sixteen years later, her body was found to be still well preserved, and miracles were attributed to her. Her relics remain in the church at Pibrac, and an annual pilgrimage is made there. The process of canonization, begun in 1700, was delayed for Germaine because of the intervening French Revolution and similar problems. She was, however, successfully invoked by Popes Pius VII in 1813 and Pius IX in 1849 (Attwater, Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Walsh, White).

In art, Saint Germaine is depicted as a peasant girl with flowers falling around her in winter. She might also be portrayed tending sheep or dying alone in poverty (Roeder). She is venerated in Pibrac, Toulouse, France (Roeder). Germaine is the patroness of young country girls (Encyclopedia).

SOURCE : http://www.saintpatrickdc.org/ss/0615.shtml



La châsse de Sainte Germaine; oeuvre de Mr Favier, orfèvre à Lyon 1854. 
Église Sainte-Marie-Madeleine Pibrac Haute-Garonne France.
 Matériaux : Laiton dorée et cristal Taille :1,30m de long, 0,50m de large et 1 m de haut.


June 15 is the feast day of St. Germaine Cousin, a simple and pious young girl who lived in Pibrac, France in the late 1500s. Germaine was born in 1579 to poor parents. Her father was a farmer, and her mother died when she was still an infant. She was born with a deformed right arm and hand, as well as the disease of scrofula, a tubercular condition.

Her father remarried soon after the death of her mother, but his new wife was filled with disgust by Germaine's condition. She tormented and neglected Germaine, and taught her siblings to do so as well.

Starving and sick, Germaine was eventually kicked out of the house and forced to sleep under the stairway in the barn, on a pile of leaves and twigs, because of her stepmother’s dislike of her and disgust of her condition. She tended to the family's flock of sheep everyday.

Despite her hardships, she lived each day full of thanksgiving and joy, and spent much of her time praying the Rosary and teaching the village children about the love of God. She was barely fed and had an emaciated figure, yet despite this she shared the little bread that she had with the poor of the village.

From her simple faith grew a deep holiness and profound trust in God. She went to Mass everyday, leaving her sheep in the care of her guardian angel, who never failed her. Germaine’s deep piety was looked upon with ridicule by the villagers, but not by the children, who were drawn to her holiness.

God protected Germaine and showered his favor upon her. It was reported that on days when the river was high, the waters would part so that she could pass through them on her way to Mass. One day in winter, when she was being chased by her stepmother who accused her of stealing bread, she opened her apron and fresh summer flowers fell out. She offered the flowers to her stepmother as a sign of forgiveness.

Eventually, the adults of the village began to realize the special holiness of this poor, crippled shepherdess. Germaine's parents eventually offered her a place back in their house, but she chose to remain in her humble place outside.

Just as the villagers were realizing the beauty of her life, God called her to Himself. Her father found her body on her bed of leaves one morning in her 22nd year of life.

Forty-three years later, when a relative of hers was being buried, Germaine’s casket was opened and her body was found incorrupt. People in the surrounding area began praying for her intercession and obtaining miraculous cures for illnesses.

St. Germaine was canonized by Pope Pius IX in 1867 and inscribed into the canon of virgins.

SOURCE : http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/saint.php?n=497

Santa Germana Cousin Vergine


Pibrac, Francia, 1570 circa - 15 giugno 1601

Nata nel 1570 in un piccolo villaggio a pochi chilometri da Tolosa da modestissimi operai, restò per tutta la vita una povera pastorella. Con una malformazione congenita all'arto superiore destro e una costituzione gracile, si ammalò ben presto di scrofolosi che portò con sé quale cronica sofferenza per tutti i suoi anni. Perse la madre poco tempo dopo la nascita, il padre si risposò e in casa fu isolata. Fu mandata a pascolare le greggi e quasi sempre doveva dormire nella stalla. Tutto questo veniva però accettato con estrema umiltà e non le impediva di esercitare tanta carità nei confronti dei compagni, per lo più giovani pastori e pastorelle. Grande era la sua fede costruita intorno a quel poco che su Dio e sulla Madonna aveva appreso in parrocchia. Ogni giorno andava a Messa, ogni giorno recitava il Rosario e l'Angelus. Gli abitanti di Pibrac, il villaggio natale, la chiamavano perciò «la bigotta» e la dileggiavano. Ma Germana sopportava tutto con umiltà. Una mattina il gregge non uscì dall'ovile; Germana non andò in Chiesa. Era morta silenziosamente quasi addormentandosi nella pace eterna il 15 giugno 1601. Dopo la morte, per sua intercessione si verificarono numerosissimi miracoli. Tutta Pibrac e in seguito tutta la Francia le portarono grande devozione. (Avvenire)

Etimologia: Germana = fratello/sorella, dal latino

Martirologio Romano: A Pibrac nel territorio di Tolosa in Francia, santa Germana, vergine, che, nata da genitori sconosciuti, condusse fin dalla fanciullezza una vita di servitù e infermità, patendo con animo forte e spirito gioioso ogni genere di tribolazioni, finché a soli ventidue anni riposò in pace.
Dalla vita non ha ricevuto granchè, anzi la si può considerare una somma di dolori ed incomprensioni tali da mandare in depressione chiunque: una malformazione congenita le blocca un braccio; la scrofolosi le deturpa il viso con piaghe e gonfiori; a pochi giorni dalla nascita le muore la mamma e si ritrova con un papà che non la ama e una matrigna che la odia , trattandola come un’appestata. Per una bambina così sfortunata non si prospetta alcun avvenire e neppure si prende in considerazione l’ipotesi del matrimonio per cui, oltre a non mandarla a scuola, non le vengono insegnati neppure i lavori domestici. Soltanto al pascolo può andare, anche perché così pochi la notano, quasi fosse una persona di cui ci si vergogna. Il gregge ed i pascoli diventano così tutto il suo mondo e la sua ragion d’essere. O forse no, perché a dispetto di ogni apparenza quella bambina è intelligente e anche di facile apprendimento. Si innamora di Dio e della Madonna “immagazzinando” le poche nozioni che riesce a rubare quando, abbandonando il gregge, riesce a scappare in chiesa per la messa o per il catechismo. Al suo ritorno, non solo le pecore non si sono disperse, ma le si raduna intorno un piccolo “gregge” di bimbi, analfabeti come lei, ai quali riesce a trasmettere quanto nel suo cuore ha messo radici. Forse è più un catechismo di “testimonianza” che di nozioni, ma per questo ancor più efficace, almeno a giudicare dai frutti che si registrano in quei bambini, altrimenti abbandonati a se stessi, sporchi, ignoranti, rissosi. E anche affamati, tanto che lei deve portarsi il pane da casa o toglierselo di bocca per aiutarli in qualche modo. E se papà, insospettito, vuol verificare se nel suo grembiule stracolmo c’è davvero pane, ha la sorpresa di trovarlo in pieno inverno stracolmo di profumatissimi fiori. Così come gli altri pastori possono verificare che quella loro singolare “collega” riesce come Mosè ad aprisi un varco in un torrente in piena o attraversare un fiume senza neppure bagnarsi “Miracoli” quotidiani, di una ferialità che si sposa perfettamente con il carattere umile e dimesso di quella ragazza rifiutata da tutti, e che tutti trattano da “bigotta” e che insultano pure, per quel suo vizio di frequentare troppo la chiesa. E lei, povera di tutto, è ricca soltanto di pazienza e di sopportazione, di umiltà e di fede vissute nel nascondimento nel silenzio. Tanto che nessuno si accorge quando muore, appena trentenne, il 15 giugno 1601: la trovano, ormai cadavere, nel suo solito giaciglio nella stalla, dato che non le hanno mai dato un letto come spetterebbe ad ogni cristiano. La seppelliscono in chiesa a furor di popolo e 40 anni dopo ne riesumano il corpo ancora intatto, mentre si fa fatica a tenere conto dei miracoli che si sono verificati su quella tomba. Pio IX la mette ufficialmente sugli altari nel 1867 ed oggi Santa Germana Cousin è patrona dei pastori, dei pellicciai e, più di recente, anche dei “giovani a rischio”. Che sono così numerosi da aver davvero bisogno di una protettrice in più.

Autore: Gianpiero Pettiti


Vive e muore sempre da ultima. La sua biografia è un succedersi di disgrazie,a partire dalla nascita. Non fa in tempo a conoscere sua madre, che muore poco tempo dopo averla messa al mondo. È infelice pure il suo fisico, per una mano malformata e per un’infermità cronica legata alla malnutrizione: la scrofolosi, che deturpa il suo viso con piaghe e gonfiori. È ultima anche per i suoi di casa: se la prende con lei soprattutto una donna, indicata come la matrigna o una cognata.

La sua “stanza da letto” è la stalla durante l’inverno e un sottoscala nella buona stagione. Nessuno in famiglia sembra notare la sua intelligenza (anche se è analfabeta). Tanto, sposarsi non potrà mai, nelle sue condizioni: sicché non le si insegnano neppure i lavori domestici. Il suo compito – appena l’età lo consente – è portare le pecore al pascolo, così non si fa troppo vedere.

L’epoca, in Francia, è quella delle “guerre di religione” tra cattolici e calvinist i– gli “ugonotti” –, una tragica crisi che vede l’aristocrazia divisa in due partiti armati e contrapposti. Sui contadini dipendenti dagli uni o dagli altri ricade il flagello delle estorsioni padronali e dei saccheggi. Così Germana, in casa e fuori, si trova a essere «pastorella in mezzo ai lupi», come la definirà Henri Ghéon, uno dei suoi biografi. Ma lei non crolla, non si chiude. Frequentando assiduamente la chiesa parrocchiale di Pibrac, il suo villaggio nativo, giunge ad avere una buona istruzione religiosa.

E a questo punto si scopre pure amabile parlatrice con i suoi coetanei, che le si fanno amici senza badare al suo aspetto. Sono gli unici che l’accettano com’è e ascoltano volentierii suoi racconti evangelici, nella parlata dell’Alta Garonna. È una catechista spontanea dei contadinelli poveri, e a volte li sfama pure, col pane portato da casa. Le campagne, infatti, sono al disastro, perché, dopo le rapine e i saccheggi delle guerre di religione, arrivano gli agenti del fisco, mandati dal ministro delle Finanze Sully; e questi, se il contadino non paga, mettono in vendita anche porte, finestre e copertura della casa. (Secondo un osservatore inglese, questa fiscalità spietata tende anche a deprimere e scoraggiare il minuto popolo, «che altrimenti sarebbe disposto alla rivolta»).

Germana è rimproverata dai suoi perché riempie il grembiule di pane per i suoi amici: ma lei prontamente apre il grembiule e lo si ritrova pieno di fiori, in inverno. Anche i pochi miracoli che le si attribuiscono sono così; ordinari, minuscoli, da poveri. E poverissima è la sua morte. Germana si spegne nel suo eterno sottoscala e non se ne accorge nessuno. Quando la trovano, è già cadavere. A trent’anni circa.

Più di 40 anni dopo, la sorpresa: riesumato il suo corpo, lo si trova intatto. Si diffonde la venerazione per lei: incomincia un processo per la canonizzazione, mentre la gente continua a invocarla. A fine Settecento, con la Rivoluzione francese, anche i suoi resti vengono dispersi. Nel 1867 Pio IX la proclama santa. Nel villaggio di Pibrac c’è ora una basilica eretta in suo onore.

Autore: Domenico Agasso