jeudi 3 janvier 2013

Sainte GENEVIÈVE de PARIS, vierge


Michel-Louis Victor Mercier. Statue de Sainte Geneviève (1845), 

Sainte Geneviève

Vierge, patronne de Paris

(422-512)

Sainte Geneviève

Sainte Geneviève, patronne de Paris, naquit au village de Nanterre, vers l'an 422. C'est bien dans une vie comme la sienne que l'on reconnaît la vérité et que l'on trouve la réalisation de cette parole de saint Paul: "Dieu choisit dans ce monde les instruments les plus faibles pour confondre l'orgueil et les prétentions des hommes."

Elle était âgée de sept ans quand saint Germain, évêque d'Auxerre, traversa le village de Nanterre, où elle habitait. Éclairé par une lumière divine, le Saint discerna cette modeste enfant parmi la foule accourue sur ses pas: "Béni soit, dit-il à ses parents, le jour où cette enfant vous fut donnée: Sa naissance a été saluée par les anges, et Dieu la destine à de grandes choses." Puis, s'adressant à la jeune enfant, il la confirma dans son désir de se donner tout à Dieu: "Ayez confiance, ma fille, lui dit-il, demeurez inébranlable dans votre vocation; le Seigneur vous donnera force et courage."

Depuis ce moment, Geneviève se regarda comme consacrée à Dieu; elle s'éloigna de plus en plus des jeux et des divertissements de l'enfance et se livra à tous les exercices de la piété chrétienne avec une ardeur bien au-dessus de son âge. Rarement on vit, dans une existence si humble, de si admirables vertus. Elle n'était heureuse que dans son éloignement du monde, en la compagnie de Jésus, de Marie et de son Ange gardien.

Geneviève reçut le voile à quatorze ans, des mains de l'archevêque de Paris, et, après la mort de ses parents, elle quitta Nanterre pour se retirer à Paris même, chez sa marraine, où elle vécut plus que jamais saintement. Malgré ses austérités, ses extases, ses miracles, elle devint bientôt l'objet de la haine populaire, et le démon jaloux suscita contre elle une guerre acharnée. Il fallut un nouveau passage de saint Germain de Nanterre pour rétablir sa réputation: "Cette vierge, dit-il, sera votre salut à tous."

Bientôt, en effet, le terrible Attila, surnommé le Fléau de Dieu, envahissait la France; mais Geneviève prêcha la pénitence, et, selon sa prédiction, Paris ne fut pas même assiégé. La sainte mourut à quatre-vingt-neuf ans, le 3 janvier 512. D'innombrables miracles ont été opérés par son intercession. Son tombeau est toujours entouré de vénération dans l'église de Saint-Étienne-du-Mont, à Paris. Elle est une des grandes Patronnes de la France.

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



Pierre Hébert (1804-1869). Statue de Sainte Geneviève
Façade de l'église parisienne Saint-Étienne-du-Mont


 Sainte Geneviève

Au début de l'année 451, Attila entraîne ses hordes en-deçà du Rhin, prend, pille et brûle Metz la veille de Pâques (7 avril), remonte la vallée de le Seine et vient assiéger Paris.

Au milieu du désarroi général, sainte Geneviève garde son sang-froid puisant son courage dans la confiance qu'elle a en la Providence. Elle convoque les femmes de Paris et, après leur avoir rappelé les grand exemples de Judith et d'Esther, libératrices de leur peuple, elles les invite à s'unir à elle pour détourner le fléau par la prière, le jeûne et les saintes veilles au baptistère de Saint-Jean-le-Rond. Sûre de l'appui des femmes parisiennes, elle s'adresse aux hommes : Que parlez-vous de vous réfugier en d'autres cités ? Celles-ci seront-elles mieux que Paris abritées contre un coup de main des barbares ? Paris, grâce à la protection du Christ, échappera au carnage.

Les Parisiens, tout abandonnés à la peur, s'emportent contre sainte Geneviève qu'ils appellent la prophétesse de malheur, et parlent de la lapider ou de la jeter dans la Seine, lorsque l'archidiacre d'Auxerre apporte les eulogies (pains bénis et non consacrés) que son évêque, saint Germain a légué à sainte Geneviève en mourant : Parisiens, n'allez pas commettre ce forfait ; celle dont vous projetez la mort est, au témoignage du saint évêque Germain, l'élue de Dieu dès sa venue au monde. Et voici les eulogies que je lui apporte de la part de l'évêque défunt. Les Parisiens se rallient alors aux conseils de sainte Geneviève et Attila quitte la vallée de la Seine pour se rejeter vers la Loire. arrêtés par l'évêque saint Aignan sous les murs d'Orléans, il est repoussé par Ætius jusque à Châlons-sur-Marne où, à la bataille des Champs Catalauniques par les armées conjuguées d'Aétius (Gallo-Romains), de Mérovée (Francs) et de Théodoric (Wisigoths).

Près de trente ans plus tard, lorsque Clovis, encore idolâtre assiège Paris, sainte Geneviève est encore l'âme de la résistance de ses concitoyens affamés qu'elle réussit à faire ravitailler en forçant, avec onze vaisseaux, les barrages sur la Seine jusqu'à Troyes.

En 885, lorsque les Normands assiègent Paris, tandis que la famine et la peste déciment la population, la résistance des Parisiens se confie à l'intercession de sainte Geneviève et, après que ses ont été exposées au point le plus menacé des remparts, l'ennemi se retire.

En 1130, sous le nom de mal des ardents ou de feu sacré, une terrible fièvre pestilentielle fondit sur Paris, puis sur la France entière, sans qu'aucune médecin ne pût l'enrayer ; il s'agissait d'une inflammation intérieure accompagnée de la gangrène aux extrémités des membres. Pour conjurer le fléau, l'évêque de Paris ordonna des jeûnes et des prières, puis demanda que l'on transportât les malades sur le chemin de la procession solennelle qu'il mena de la basilique Sainte-Geneviève à Notre-Dame, le 26 novembre. Les malades qui touchèrent la châsse furent immédiatement guéris et de tous ceux qui étaient à Paris, seuls trois sceptiques moururent, puis le mal commença à décroître pour finir par disparaître. L'année suivante, le pape Innocent II, en souvenir de ce miracle, institua la fête de Sainte Geneviève des Ardents.

Le 14 août 1792, les révolutionnaires n'osant détruire la châsse de sainte Geneviève, la firent transporter à l'église Saint-Etienne-du-Mont, et attendirent le 9 novembre 1793 pour s'en saisir et l'emporter à l'Hôtel de la Monnaie. Ouverte, profanée et inventoriée, la châsse fut détruite avant que les précieuses reliques qu'elle contenaient fussent brûlées en place de Grève et les cendres dispersées dans la Seine.


Prière

Répandez sur nous, Seigneur,

l'esprit d'intelligence et d'amour

dont vous avez rempli sainte Geneviève, votre servante,

pour qu'attentifs à vous servir et cherchant à lui ressembler,

nous obtentions par son intercession dans le ciel,

de vous plaire sur la terre par notre foi, et toute notre vie.

Par Jésus-Christ, votre Fils unique, notre Seigneur et notre Dieu

qui vit et règne avec vous, dans l'unité du Saint-Esprit.

Pour les siècles des siècles.

- Amen


Litanies du Précieux Sang

Seigneur, ayez pitié de nous Seigneur, ayez pitié de nous

O Christ, ayez pitié de nous O Christ, ayez pitié de nous

Seigneur, ayez pitié de nous Seigneur, ayez pitié de nous

Jésus, écoutez-nous Jésus, écoutez-nous

Jésus, exaucez-nous Jésus, exaucez-nous

Père du Ciel qui êtes Dieu, ayez pitié de nous


Fils, Rédempteur du monde qui êtes Dieu, ayez pitié de nous

Saint-Esprit qui êtes Dieu, ayez pitié de nous

Sainte Trinité qui êtes un seul Dieu, ayez pitié de nous

Sainte Marie, sainte Vierge des Vierges, Mère du Sauveur, priez pour nous

Sainte Geneviève, dès l’enfance comblée de Dieu, priez pour nous

Sainte Geneviève, consacrée au Christ par saint Germain, priez pour nous

Sainte Geneviève, docile au Saint-Esprit, priez pour nous

Sainte Geneviève, au zèle intrépide pour la foi, priez pour nous

Sainte Geneviève, héroïquement dévouée à l’Eglise, priez pour nous

Sainte Geneviève, modèle de vie vécue pour Dieu, priez pour nous

Sainte Geneviève, discrète auxiliaire du Clergé, priez pour nous

Sainte Geneviève, qui avez souffert pour votre vocation, priez pour nous

Sainte Geneviève, qui avez connu l’hostilité et l’abandon, priez pour nous

Sainte Geneviève, qui passiez des heures à prier, priez pour nous

Sainte Geneviève, dont les jeûnes et la prière sauvaient la Cité, priez pour nous

Sainte Geneviève, qui aviez pour les rois une exigeante amitié, priez pour nous

Sainte Geneviève, dont la sagesse éclairait les païens, priez pour nous

Sainte Geneviève, dont la prudence guidait les chefs, priez pour nous

Sainte Geneviève, dont la pureté triomphait des calomnies, priez pour nous

Sainte Geneviève, dont la force relevait les courages défaillants, priez pour nous

Sainte Geneviève, qui compatissiez aux souffrances des petits, priez pour nous

Sainte Geneviève, qui nourrissiez miraculeusement les miséreux, priez pour nous

Sainte Geneviève, qui réconciliez avec Dieu les pécheurs, priez pour nous

Sainte Geneviève, qui rameniez à l’Eglise les égarés, priez pour nous

Sainte Geneviève, qui lisiez dans les cœurs, priez pour nous

Sainte Geneviève, qui guérissiez les malades, priez pour nous

Sainte Geneviève, qui arrêtiez les inondations, priez pour nous

Sainte Geneviève, qui rétablissiez la paix entre les ennemis, priez pour nous

Sainte Geneviève, qui adoucissiez le sort des prisonniers, priez pour nous

Sainte Geneviève, qui chassiez les démons, priez pour nous

Sainte Geneviève, qui protégez notre patrie, priez pour nous

Sainte Geneviève, qui veillez sur Paris, priez pour nous


Agneau de Dieu, qui effacez les péchés du monde,

pardonnez-nous, Seigneur

Agneau de Dieu, qui effacez les péchés du monde,

exaucez-nous, Seigneur

Agneau de Dieu, qui effacez les péchés du monde,

Jésus-Christ, écoutez-nous

Jésus-Christ, exaucez-nous

Priez pour nous, Sainte Geneviève ;

- Afin que nous soyons rendus dignes des promesses du Christ.

Répandez sur nous, Seigneur, l’esprit d’intelligence et d’amour dont vous avez rempli votre servante Geneviève, pour qu’attentifs à vous servir et cherchant à lui ressembler, nous sachions vous plaire par notre foi et toute notre vie. Par Jésus-Christ, votre Fils unique, notre Seigneur et notre Dieu, qui vit et règne avec vous, dans l’unité du Saint-Esprit. Pour les siècles des siècles. - Amen.


Sainte Geneviève

Vierge à Paris ( 500)

Elle est née à Nanterre vers 420. Alors qu'elle a sept ans, l'évêque saint Germain d'Auxerre, de passage, la remarque et la consacre à Dieu. C'est dans le monde qu'elle mènera sa vie consacrée. En 451, les Huns menacent Paris. Geneviève persuade les parisiens affolés que les Barbares n'attaqueront pas la ville et qu'il est inutile de fuir. En effet Paris est épargné. Puis ce sont les Francs qui viennent l'assiéger. Geneviève s'échappe par la Seine et va quérir du ravitaillement jusqu'à Troyes. Plus tard, elle jouit de la confiance des rois francs et obtient d'eux la grâce des condamnés. Elle se lia d'amitié avec sainte Clotilde. Sa réputation est telle qu'elle se répand jusqu'en Syrie où saint Syméon le Stylite, du haut de sa colonne, se recommande à ses prières. Elle passera sa vie à secourir les pauvres et guérir les malades. 

Femme forte, paisible et de grande autorité, femme qui sut rétablir l'ordre et la paix de la cité au cours des pires épreuves, Geneviève reste un repère et un exemple pour tous les gendarmes dans leur labeur, en même temps qu'elle intercède pour eux.

Par décret en date du 18 mai 1962, le bienheureux pape Jean XXIII a solennellement désigné sainte Geneviève comme patronne de la Gendarmerie, dont il avait pu apprécier les engagements et le sens du service comme nonce apostolique à Paris, peu auparavant.

Au calendrier de l'Église, la fête de sainte Geneviève figure au 3 janvier qui correspond à la date de sa mort, c'est-à-dire de sa naissance au ciel. Cependant, cette date n'étant pas favorable au rassemblement des gendarmes requis par cette célébration, elle est célébrée par la gendarmerie au 26 novembre, qui correspond à la fête de Sainte Geneviève des Ardents, instituée par le pape Innocent II pour le diocèse de Paris en l'honneur des miracles de guérison de la peste opérés à l'invocation de la sainte en cette ville en l'an 1130. La gendarmerie étant une unité dont les origines sont liées à l'histoire de la ville de Paris, cette date paraît particulièrement bien convenir. (Diocèse aux Armées françaises)

Voir aussi: Sainte Geneviève (v. 420 - v. 500), patronne de Paris et les Saints parisiens - diocèse de Paris.

À Paris, vers l’an 500, la mise au tombeau de sainte Geneviève, vierge de Nanterre, qui, à l’âge de quinze ans, reçut le voile des vierges à l’invitation de saint Germain d’Auxerre. Elle réconforta les habitants de la cité lors de l’invasion des Huns, et vint en aide à ses concitoyens pendant une famine.

SOURCE : http://nominis.cef.fr/

Contemporaine de Clovis et de saint Remi, Geneviève naît en 422 à Nanterre. À l’âge de sept ans, elle rencontre Germain, évêque d’Auxerre, et Loup, évêque de Troyes, qui faisaient halte dans cette bourgade avant de s’embarquer pour l’Angleterre pour y combattre, sur l’ordre du pape, l’hérésie de Pélage. La fillette est en prière dans l’église de Nanterre et Germain prophétise devant les parents de Geneviève le destin exceptionnel de l’enfant. Lorsque sa mère est frappée de cécité pour avoir donné un soufflet à Geneviève, celle-ci la guérit avec de l’eau qu’elle a bénite.

Geneviève promet à Germain de se consacrer au Christ, et, à quinze ans, elle reçoit le voile des vierges. À l’époque, en effet, il n’existait pas de monastères de femmes et celles qui souhaitaient se consacrer au Seigneur continuaient à vivre dans le monde, simplement distinguées par le voile de leur consécration. À la mort de ses parents, Geneviève vient habiter à Paris chez sa marraine. Elle vit dans le silence, la prière et la mortification, ne se nourrissant que deux fois par semaine. Elle est aussi favorisée de grâces extraordinaires, en lisant dans les consciences et en guérissant les corps au nom du Christ par des onctions d’huile.

Saint Germain la défend contre les calomnies. Geneviève fait construire la première basilique de Saint-Denis. Elle visite de nuit le chantier avec ses compagnes, quand le vent éteint le cierge qui éclairait le chemin du petit groupe. Geneviève prend le cierge, qui se rallume assitôt, et sa flamme résiste à toutes les bourrasques.

En 451, Attila franchit le Rhin et envahit la Gaule. Les Parisiens prennent peur et veulent fuir. Geneviève les convainc de demeurer dans la ville. Elle rassemble les femmes de Paris dans l’église-baptistère près de Notre-Dame et leur demande de supplier le Ciel d’épargner leur ville. C’est ce qui se produit. Abandonnant la route de Paris, les Huns se dirigent vers Orléans qu’ils assiègent. Contraints par les armées du général romain Aetius, ils se replient vers le nord et sont définitivement vaincus aux Champs Catalauniques. Plus tard, lorsque les Francs assiègent Paris, Geneviève sauve cette fois la ville de la famine. Elle organise une expédition ingénieuse au moyen de bateaux qui, par la Seine, vont chercher le ravitaillement jusqu’en Champagne. Sa réputation s’étend jusqu’en Orient. Clovis et Clotilde lui voueront une grande vénération. Elle sera enterrée auprès du roi dans l’église des Saints-Apôtres que sainte Clotilde avait fait construire et qui prendra dès le VIIe siècle le nom de Sainte-Geneviève.

Geneviève meurt en 512 à près de 90 ans. Son corps est transporté en 845 à Marizy par crainte des Normands et rapporté à Paris en 890. À partir du XIIe siècle, la châsse contenant ses reliques est portée en procession à travers Paris. Des miracles ont lieu sur son passage en particulier lors du mal des ardents. Ses reliques sont brûlées par les révolutionnaires en 1793, mais son tombeau vide, transporté dans l’église Saint-Étienne-du-Mont continue d’être vénéré.

Sainte Geneviève est la patronne de Paris, et des gendarmes.


St. Genevieve

Patroness of Paris, b. at Nanterre, c. 419 or 422; d. at Paris, 512. Her feast is kept on 3 January. She was the daughter of Severus and Gerontia; popular tradition represents her parents as poor peasants, though it seems more likely that they were wealthy and respectable townspeople. In 429 St. Germain of Auxerre and St. Lupus ofTroyes were sent across from Gaul to Britain to combat Pelagianism. On their way they stopped at Nanterre, a small village about eight miles from Paris. The inhabitants flocked out to welcome them, and St. Germainpreached to the assembled multitude. It chanced that the pious demeanour and thoughtfulness of a young girl among his hearers attracted his attention. After the sermon he caused the child to be brought to him, spoke to her with interest, and encouraged her to persevere in the path of virtue. Learning that she was anxious to devoteherself to the service of God, he interviewed her parents, and foretold them that their child would lead a life ofsanctity and by her example and instruction bring many virgins to consecrate themselves to God. Before parting next morning he saw her again, and on her renewing her consecration he blessed her and gave her a medalengraved with a cross, telling her to keep it in remembrance of her dedication to Christ. He exhorted her likewise to be content with the medal, and wear it instead of her pearls and golden ornaments. There seem to have been no convents near her village; and Genevieve, like so many others who wished to practise religious virtue, remained at home, leading an innocent, prayerful life. It is uncertain when she formally received the religiousveil. Some writers assert that it was on the occasion of St. Gregory's return from his mission to Britain; others say she received it about her sixteenth year, along with two companions, from the hands of the Bishop of Paris. On the death of her parents she went to Paris, and lived with her godmother. She devoted herself to works of charity and practised severe corporal austerities, abstaining completely from flesh meat and breaking her fastonly twice in the week. These mortifications she continued for over thirty years, till her ecclesiastical superiors thought it their duty to make her diminish her austerities.

Many of her neighbours, filled with jealousy and envy, accused Genevieve of being an impostor and a hypocrite. Like Blessed Joan of Arc, in later times, she had frequent communion with the other world, but her visions andprophecies were treated as frauds and deceits. Her enemies conspired to drown her; but, through the intervention of Germain of Auxerre, their animosity was finally overcome. The bishop of the city appointed her to look after the welfare of the virgins dedicated to God, and by her instruction and example she led them to a high degree of sanctity. In 451 Attila and his Huns were sweeping over Gaul; and the inhabitants of Paris prepared to flee. Genevieve encouraged them to hope and trust in God; she urged them to do works of penance, and added that if they did so the town would be spared. Her exhortations prevailed; the citizens recovered their calm, andAttila's hordes turned off towards Orléans, leaving Paris untouched. Some years later Merowig (Mérovée) tookParis; during the siege Genevieve distinguished herself by her charity and self- sacrifice. Through her influenceMerowig and his successors, Childeric and Clovis, displayed unwonted clemency towards the citizens. It was she, too, who first formed the plan of erecting a church in Paris in honour of Saints Peter and Paul. It was begun byClovis at Mont-lès-Paris, shortly before his death in 511. Genevieve died the following year, and when the churchwas completed her body was interred within it. This fact, and the numerous miracles wrought at her tomb,caused the name of Sainte-Geneviève to be given to it. Kings, princes, and people enriched it with their gifts. In 847 it was plundered by the Normans and was partially rebuilt, but was completed only in 1177. This churchhaving fallen into decay once more, Louis XV began the construction of a new church in 1764. The Revolutionbroke out before it was dedicated, and it was taken over in 1791, under the name of the Panthéon, by the Constituent Assembly, to be a burial place for distinguished Frenchmen. It was restored to Catholic purposes in 1821 and 1852, having been secularized as a national mausoleum in 1831 and, finally, in 1885. St. Genevieve'srelics were preserved in her church, with great devotion, for centuries, and Paris received striking proof of the efficacy of her intercession. She saved the city from complete inundation in 834. In 1129 a violent plague, known as the mal des ardents, carried off over 14,000 victims, but it ceased suddenly during a procession in her honour.Innocent II, who had come to Paris to implore the king's help against the Antipope Anacletus in 1130, examined personally into the miracle and was so convinced of its authenticity that he ordered a feast to be kept annually inhonour of the event on 26 November. A small church, called Sainte-Geneviève des Ardents, commemorated themiracle till 1747, when it was pulled down to make room for the Foundling Hospital. The saint's relics were carried in procession yearly to the cathedral, and Mme de Sévigné gives a description of the pageant in one of her letters.

The revolutionaries of 1793 destroyed most of the relics preserved in St. Genevieve's church, and the rest were cast to the winds by the mob in 1871. Fortunately, however, a large relic had been kept at Verneuil, Oise, in the eighteenth century, and is still extant. The church built by Clovis was entrusted to the Benedictines. In the ninth century they were replaced by secular canons. In 1148, under Eugene III and Louis VII, canons from St. Victor'sAbbey at Senlis were introduced. About 1619 Louis XIII named Cardinal François de La Rochefoucauld Abbot ofSt. Genevieve's. The canons had been lax and the cardinal selected Charles Faure to reform them. This holy manwas born in 1594, and entered the canons regular at Senlis. He was remarkable for his piety, and, whenordained, succeeded after a hard struggle in reforming the abbey. Many of the houses of the canons regularadopted his reform. He and a dozen companions took charge of Sainte-Geneviève-du-Mont, at Paris, in 1634. This became the mother-house of a new congregation, the Canons Regular of St. Genevieve, which spread widely over France. Another institute called after the saint was the Daughters of St. Genevieve, founded at Paris, in 1636, by Francesca de Blosset, with the object of nursing the sick and teaching young girls. A somewhat similar institute, popularly known as the Miramiones, had been founded under the invocation of the Holy Trinity, in 1611, by Marie Bonneau de Rubella Beauharnais de Miramion. These two institutes were united in 1665, and the associates called the Canonesses of St. Genevieve. The members took no vows, but merely promised obedienceto the rules as long as they remained in the institute. Suppressed during the Revolution, it was revived in 1806 by Jeanne-Claude Jacoulet under the name of the Sisters of the Holy Family. They now have charge of over 150schools and orphanages.

Sources

Vie de Sainte Geneviève, ed. Charpentier (Paris, 1697); Acta SS., Jan., I, 137-8, 725; Tillemont, Mémoires (Paris, 1712), XVI, 621 and 802; Gallia Christiana, VII, 700; Butler, Lives of the Saints, I, 17-20; Bennett in Dict. Christ. Biog., s.v.; Delalain, Légendes historiques de Sainte Geneviève (Paris, 1872); Trianon in Revue du Monde Catholique (Paris, 1872), XXXIV, 470-82; Park in Dublin University Magazine (Dublin, 1876), LXXXVII, 102; Guérin, Vie des Saints (Paris, 1880), I, 92-104; Vidieu, Sainte Geneviève et son influence sur les destinées de la France (Paris, 1896); Fleury, Hist. ecclés., LXIX, 22, LXXIV, 39.

MacErlean, Andrew. "St. Genevieve." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 6. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909. 22 Mar. 2015 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06413f.htm>.


ST. GENEVIEVE, OR QENOVEFA, V.,

CHIEF PATRONESS OF THE CITY OF PARIS

HER father's name was Severus, and her mother's Gerontia. She was born about the year 422, at Nanterre, a small village four miles from Paris, near the famous modern stations, or Calvary, adorned with excellent sculptures, representing our Lord's Passion, on Mount Valerien. When St. Germanus, Bishop of Auxerre, went with St. Lupus into Britain to oppose the Pelagian heresy, he lay at Nanterre in his way. The inhabitants flocked about them to receive their blessing, and St. Germanus made them an exhortation, during which he took particular notice of Genevieve, though only seven years of age. After his discourse he inquired for her parents, and addressing himself to them, foretold their daughter's future sanctity, and said that she would perfectly accomplish the resolution she had taken of serving God, and that others would imitate her example. He then asked Genevieve whether it was not her desire to serve God in a state of perpetual virginity, and to bear no other title than that of a spouse of Jesus Christ. The virgin answered, that this was what she had long desired, and begged that by his blessing she might be from that moment consecrated to God. The holy prelate went to the church of the place, followed by the people, and, during long singing of psalms and prayers, says Constantius¹ that is, during the recital of None and Vespers, as the author of the life of St. Genevieve expresses it,² he held his hand upon the virgin's head. After he had supped, he dismissed her, giving a strict charge to her parents to bring her again to him very early the next morning.

(1) Constant. in vit. S. German Altiss. lib. i. c. 20. (2) Apud Bolland.

The father complied with the commission, and St. Germanus asked Genevieve whether she remembered the promise she had made to God. She said she did, and declared she would, by the divine assistance, faithfully perform it. The bishop gave her a brass medal, on which a cross was engraved, to wear always about her neck, to put her in mind of the consecration she had made of herself to God ; and at the same time, he charged her never to wear bracelets, or necklaces of pearls, gold or silver, or any other ornaments of vanity. All this she most religiously observed, and considering herself as the spouse of Christ, gave herself up to the most fervent practices of devotion and penance. From the words of St. Germanus, in his exhortation to St. Genevieve never to wear jewels, Baillet and some others infer, that she must have been a person of quality and fortune : but the ancient Breviary and constant tradition of the place assure us, that her father was a poor shepherd, Adrian, Valois, and Baluze, observe, that her most ancient life ought not to be esteemed of irrefragable authority, and that the words of St. Germanus are not perhaps related with a scrupulous fidelity.¹ The author of her life tells us, that the holy virgin begging one day with great importunity that she might go to the church, her mother struck her on the face, but in punishment lost her sight, which she only recovered, two months after, by washing her eyes twice or thrice with water, which her daughter fetched from the well, and upon which she had made the sign of the cross. Hence the people look upon the well at Nanterre as having been blessed by the saint.

About fifteen years of age, she was presented to the Bishop of Paris to receive the religious veil at his hand, together with two other persons of the same sex. Though she was the youngest of the three, the bishop placed her the first, saying, that heaven had already sanctified her ; by which he seems to have alluded to the promise she had already made, in the presence of SS. Germanus and Lupus, of consecrating herself to God.

(I) See Piganiol Descrip. de Paris, t. viii. v. Nanterre.

From that time she frequently ate only twice in the week, on Sundays and Thursdays. Her food was barley bread with a few beans. At the age of fifty, by the command of certain bishops, she mitigated this austerity, so far as to allow herself a moderate use of fish and milk. Her prayer was almost continual, and generally attended with a large flow of tears. After the death of her parents she left Nanterre, and settled with her grandmother at Paris, but sometimes undertook journeys upon motives of charity, and illustrated the cities of Meaux, Laon, Tours, Orleans, and all other places wherever she went, with miracles and remarkable predictions. God permitted her to meet with some severe trials ; for at a certain time all persons indiscriminately seemed to be in a combination against her, and persecuted her under the opprobrious names of visionary, hypocrite, and the like imputations, all tending to asperse her innocency. The arrival of St. Germanus at Paris, probably on his second journey to Britain, for some time silenced her calumniators ; but it was not long ere the storm broke out anew. Her enemies were fully determined to drown her, when the Archdeacon of Auxerre arrived with Eulogies, or blessed bread, sent her by St. Germanus, as a testimony of his particular esteem for her virtues, and a token of communion. This seems to have happened whilst St. Germanus was absent in Italy in 449, a little before his death. This circumstance, so providentially opportune, converted the prejudices of her calumniators into a singular veneration for her during the remainder of her life. The Franks or French had then possessed themselves of the better part of Gaul, and Childeric, their king, took Paris. During the long blockade of that city, the citizens being extremely distressed by famine, St. Genevieve, as the author of her life relates, went out at the head of a company who were sent to procure provisions, and brought back from Arcis-sur-Aube and Troyes several boats laden with corn. Nevertheless, Childeric, when he had made himself master of Paris, though always a pagan, respected St. Genevieve, and, upon her intercession, spared the lives of many prisoners, and did several other acts of clemency and bounty. Our saint, out of her singular devotion to St. Dionysius and his companions, the apostles of the country, frequently visited their tombs at the borough of Catulliacum, which many think the borough since called St. Denys. She also excited the zeal of many pious per-sons to build there a church in honour of St. Dionysius, which King Dagobert I. afterwards rebuilt with a stately monastery in 629. St. Genevieve likewise performed several pilgrimages, in company with other holy virgins, to the shrine of St. Martin at Tours. These journeys of devotion she sanctified by the exercises of holy recollection and austere penance.

King Clovis, who embraced the faith in 496, listened often with deference to the advice of St. Genevieve, and granted liberty to several captives at her request. Upon the report of the march of Attila with his army of Huns, the Parisians were preparing to abandon their city, but St. Genevieve persuaded them, in imitation of Judith and Hester, to endeavour to avert the scourge, by fasting, watching, and prayer. Many devout persons of her sex passed many days with her in prayer in the baptistry ; from whence the particular devotion to St. Genevieve, which is practised at St. John-le-rond, the ancient public baptistry of the church of Paris, seems to have taken rise. She assured the people of the protection of heaven, and their deliverance ; and though she was long treated by many as an impostor, the event verified the prediction, that barbarian suddenly changing the course of his march, probably by directing it towards Orleans. Our authority attributes to St. Genevieve, the first design of the magnificent church which Clovis began to build in honour of SS. Peter and Paul, by the pious counsel of his wife Saint Clotilda, by whom it was finished several years after ; for he only laid the foundation a little before his death, which happened in 511. St. Genevieve died about the same year, probably five weeks after that prince, on the 3rd of January, 512, being eighty-nine years old. Some think she died before King Clovis. Prudentius, Bishop of Paris, had been buried about the year 409, on the spot where this church was built. Clovis was interred in it ; his remains were afterwards removed into the middle of the choir, where they are covered with a modern monument of white marble, with an inscription. St. Clotilda was buried near the steps of the high altar in 545 ; but her name having been enrolled amongst the saints, her relics were enshrined, and are placed behind the high altar. Those of St. Alda, the companion of St. Genevieve, and of St. Ceraunus, Bishop of Paris, are placed in silver shrines on the altar of St. Clotilda. The tombs of St. Genevieve and King Clovis were near together. Immediately after the saint was buried, the people raised an oratory of wood, over her tomb, as her historian assures us, and this was soon changed into the stately church built under the invocation of SS. Peter and Paul. From this circumstance, we gather that her tomb was situated in a part of this church, which was only built after her death. Her tomb, though empty, is still shown in the subterraneous church, or vault, betwixt those of Prudentius, and St. Ceraunus, Bishop of Paris. But her relics were enclosed by St. Eligius, in a costly shrine, adorned with gold and silver, which he made with his own hands about the year 630, as St. Owen relates in his life. In 845 these relics, for fear of the Normans, were removed to Atis, and thence to Dravel, where the abbot of the canons kept a tooth for his own church. In 550 they were carried to Marisy, near Ferte-Milon, and five years after brought back to Paris. The author of the original life of St. Genevieve, concludes it by a description of the basilic which Clovis and St. Clotilda erected, adorned with a triple portico, in which were painted the histories of the patriarchs, prophets, martyrs, and confessors. This church was several times plundered, and at length burnt, by the Normans. When it was rebuilt, soon after the year 856, the relics of St. Genevieve were brought back. The miracles which were performed there from the time of her burial, rendered this church famous all over France, so that at length it began to be known only by her name. The city of Paris has frequently received sensible proofs of the divine protection, through her intercession. The most famous instance is that called the miracle of Des Ardens, or of the burning fever. In 1129, in the reign of Lewis VI. a pestilential fever, with a violent inward heat, and pains in the bowels, swept off, in a short time, fourteen thousand persons, nor could the art of physicians afford any relief. Stephen, Bishop of Paris, with the clergy and people, implored the divine mercy, by fasting and supplications. Yet the distemper began not to abate till the shrine of St. Genevieve was carried in a solemn procession to the cathedral. During that ceremony many sick persons were cured by touching the shrine, and of all that then lay ill of that distemper in the whole town, only three died, the rest recovered, and no others fell ill. Pope Innocent II. coming to Paris the year following, after having passed a careful scrutiny on the miracle, ordered an annual festival in commemoration of it on the 26th of November, which is still kept at Paris. A chapel near the cathedral, called anciently St. Genevieve's the Little, erected near the house in which she died, afterwards from this miracle, though it was wrought not at this chapel, but chiefly at the cathedral, as Le Beuf demonstrates, was called St. Genevieve Des Athens, which was demolished in 1747, to make place for the Foundling Hospital.¹ Both before and since that time, it is the custom in extraordinary public calamities, to carry the shrine of St, Genevieve, accompanied by those of St. Marcel, St. Aurea, St. Lucan martyr, St. Landry, St. Merry, St. Paxentius, St. Ma.gloire, and others, in a solemn procession to the cathedral ; on which occasion the regular canons of St. Genevieve walk barefoot, and at the right hand of the chapter of the cathedral, and the abbot walks on the right hand of the archbishop. The present rich shrine of St. Genevieve was made by the abbot, and the relics enclosed in it in 1242. It is said that one hundred and ninety-three marks of silver and eight of gold, were used in making it; and it is almost covered with precious stones, most of which are the presents of several kings and queens. The crown or cluster of diamonds, which glitters on the top, was given by Queen Mary of Medicis. The shrine is placed behind the choir, upon a fine piece of architecture, supported by four high pillars, two of marble, and two of jaspis. See the " Ancient Life of St. Genevieve," written by an anonymous author, eighteen years after her death, of which the best edition is given by F. Charpentier, a Genevevan regular canon, in octavo, in 1697. It is interpolated in several editions. Bollandus has added another more modern life see also Tillemont, t. xvi. p. 621, and notes ibid. p. 802. Likewise, Gallia Christiana Nova, t. vii. p. 700.

(1) De Miraculo Ardentium. See Anonyn ap. Bolland. et Brev. Paris. ad 26 Nov.

SOURCE : http://jesus-passion.com/saint_genevieve.htm


Geneviève of Paris V (RM)
(also known as Genovefa)


Born in Nanterre near Paris, France, c. 422; died in Paris, c. 500 Geneviève was born in a village on the outskirts of Paris during the time of Attila the Hun. She was a shepherdess, the only child of Severus and Gerontia, hardworking peasants. Geneviève was so bright and attractive that when Saint Germanus, bishop of Auxerre, was visiting the village with Saint Lupus on their way to Britain in 429 to squelch Pelagianism, he took special notice of the seven-year-old. After his sermon, the inhabitants flocked about them to receive their blessings. Germanus beckoned for her parents and foretold her future sanctity. When he asked Geneviève if she wished to be a spouse of Christ and serve God only, she asked that he bless her and consecrate her from that moment.


Taking a gold coin from his purse, he gave it to her, telling her to keep it always as a reminder of that day and of God to whom her life belonged. Although in later years Geneviève was often hungry and had no other money, she never parted with the coin. Another version recorded by Constantius tells how the holy bishop went to the church, followed by the people, and during the long singing of Psalms and prayers, "he laid his hand upon the maiden's head." In either case, she continued tending the sheep and helping her blind mother in spinning and weaving.

When Geneviève was 15, her parents died and she went to live in Paris, where she repeated her vows and the bishop of Paris gave her and two other girls the veil. She settled with her godmother Lutetia in Paris. In the course of time, she became famous for her sanctity. She frequently ate only twice a week--sparingly (a small portion of barley bread and some beans). (This fasting she continued until age 50 when her bishop commanded her to alter her diet.)

She experienced visions and prophecies, which initially evoked hostility from Parisians--to the point that an attempt was made to take her life. But the support of Germanus, who visited her again, and the accuracy of her predictions eventually changed their attitudes. (Germanus also corrected some of her harsher penances during this visit.)

The young girl loved to pray in church alone at night. One day a gust of wind blew out her candle, leaving her in the dark. Geneviève merely concluded that the devil was trying to frighten her. For this reason she is often depicted holding a candle, sometimes with an irritated devil standing near.

Her bravery rallied the city in 451, when Attila II the Hun's army marched on the city in an attempt to wrest Gaul from the Visigoths. The citizens were ready to evacuate the city. As the Huns battered at the gates of Paris, Geneviève persuaded the men to stay and gathered the women of the city for prayer. Her courage depended on complete trust in God, and as Attila and his army approached she encouraged the Parisians to fast and pray in the hope that God would avert disaster. Many citizens spent whole days in prayer with her in the baptistery. It is from this that the devotion to Saint Geneviève, formerly practiced at Saint- Jean-le-Rond, the ancient public baptistery of the church of Paris, appears to have originated. She reassured the people that they had the protection of heaven. She cared for the sick, fed the poor, and everywhere inspired confidence. "God will protect you," she said, "we must trust in Him."

At one point, however, when the crisis was at its height and the people were panic-stricken, they turned against her, wanting to stone her and saying that she was a false prophet who would bring about their destruction, and they threatened to stone her. But the good Bishop Germanus had not forgotten her, and though he lay dying in Ravenna, Italy, he sent his archdeacon Sedulius to pacify the people. Sedulius persuaded the panic-stricken people that Geneviève was not a prophetess of doom, and to listen to her counsel not to abandon their homes. Many of the inhabitants lost heart and fled in panic, but Geneviève again gathered the women around her, and led them out on to the ramparts of the city, where in the morning light and in the face of the spears of the enemy they prayed to God for deliverance. Providentially, the same night, the invader turned south to Orleans, and again the city was saved, since when Geneviève, who was venerated even by the enemy, has been acclaimed as a savior and heroine of her people.

In 486 the saint's bravery proved invaluable for the people of Paris for the second time. The Frankish King Clovis killed Syragrius, the Roman representative in Soissons, ending the Roman governance of Gaul. King Childeric of the Franks besieged the Paris, bringing its inhabitants to the point of starvation.

One night, when the city was blockaded and there was a serious shortage of food, Geneviève took a boat and rowed out alone (more likely at the head of a company) upon the river into the darkness to Arcis-sur-Aube and Troyes. She slipped silently and secretly past the lines of the enemy, landing at dawn far outside the city, where she went from village to village imploring help and gathering food, and returned to Paris--again successfully evading the enemy--with eleven boatloads of precious corn. (Other sources say that nightly she captained eleven barges to collect grain in the Champagne region.)

When the siege was over, Childeric, the ever-pagan conqueror, in admiration of her courage, sent for her and asked what he might do for her. "Release your prisoners," she replied. "Their only fault was that they so dearly loved their city." And this he granted.

When, on the death of Childeric, Clovis succeeded him and consolidated control of the land from the Rhine to the Loire. He married Childeric's elder daughter, Clothilde, who was a Christian and tried to convert her husband without success. Clovis allowed his first son to be baptized, but the child died. The second son was baptized and came close to death, but recovered at the prayers of Clothilde and Remi.

Meanwhile, Geneviève became his trusted counsellor. Clovis entered a harsh battle and promised to be baptized, if he should win. He won and under the influence of Geneviève, he converted in 496. His people and servants followed suit. Clovis, like Childeric, released many prisoners at her request. Later, however, fresh troubles came to the city, and once more it was threatened by an invading army.
Geneviève also initiated the interest of many people in building a church in honor of Saint Denis, which was afterward rebuilt with a monastery by King Dagobert in 629. Geneviève made many pilgrimages in the company of other maidens to the shrine of Saint Martin of Tours. Her reputation for sanctity is so great that it even reached Saint Simeon the Stylite in Syria (he asked to be remembered in her prayers).

By the time she died King Clovis of the Franks had grown to venerate the saint. It was at Geneviève's suggestion that Clovis began to build the church of SS. Peter and Paul in the middle of Paris, where they interred her body. Later the church was renamed Sainte Geneviève and it was rebuilt in 1746.

From the time of her burial, miracles performed at her tomb made her and the Church famous all over France. The most famous instance of all is the so-called miracle des Ardens or burning fever (ergot-poisoning) in 1129. Bishop Stephen of Paris had her shrine carried through the streets in solemn procession. Many thousands of the sick who saw or touched the shrine were immediately cured, and only several deaths from the plague were said to have occurred thereafter. In the following year, Pope Innocent II ordered that date to be kept annually in commemoration of the miracle.

In times of national crisis the French have often turned to Geneviève for help. In 1741, Louis XV came to her church to thank her for a cure wrought at her intercession. When the Bastille was taken, people again came to thank her. In 1790, the Commune went to her church for Mass. In 1793 the body of Saint Geneviève was taken from her shrine and publicly burned at the Place de Greve. At the time of the French Revolution, the church was secularized and is now called the Pantheon, a burial place for French worthies. But some of the relics were spared and later placed in the Church of Saint Etienne (Stephen) du Mont, where thousands visit them each year.

Most of the information about Geneviève derives from a Life that claims to be by a contemporary; its authenticity and value are the subject of much discussion. The idea that she was a shepherdess is recent and without authority; the evidence suggests that she came from a family of good position. She was a real person, however; her name is entered in Saint Jerome's Martyrology, which makes her cultus very ancient. (Attwater, Bentley, Delaney, Farmer, Gill, Encyclopedia, Martindale, Walsh, White).

In art she is shown as a shepherdess, usually holding a candle-- which the devil is trying to extinguish, while an angel guards it-- or a book or torch. She may have a coin suspended around her neck (the one Germanus gave her). Sometimes she may be shown as a nun with sheep near her, with the devil at her feet with bellows, a key in one hand and candle in the other, or restoring sight to her mother (Benedictines, Roeder, White).

Many miracles in favor of Paris have been attributed to her intercession. She is the patron saint of Paris, of disasters, of drought and excessive rain, of fever, and of the French security forces. Her efforts to maintain the safety of Paris led to her being made the patron of French security forces (White).

SOURCE : http://www.saintpatrickdc.org/ss/0103.shtml