Life and Works
Saint Genevieve is one of the most respected and influential women inthe history of Paris and Religion. Venerated a Patron Saint of Paris, astatus promoted by Cleotilde, Saint Genevieve is celebrated by the RomanCatholic and Eastern Orthodox religions.
She is most popularly revered for her role in saving her city, Paris,from the clutches of one of the evilest men in history, Attila the Hun.
A normal peasant girl, Saint Genevieve was born in 422 in Nanterre,Paris, where she led a normal life as a child. The first marked changefor her began at the young age of 7 when she first met Saint Germanus,the Bishop of Auxerre who was passing through on a sojourn to Britain.On sighting her amongst the crowd of people who gathered to listen tohim, he foretold her future as a devotee and she immediatelycommunicated her wish to dedicate her life to God and the Christianreligion.
Saint Genevieve was consecrated to God as a virgin, promising to avoidvanity. She immersed herself in prayers, intense fasts, teaching, andpreaching. At the age of 15, after the death of her parents, SaintGenevieve went to live with their godmother Lutetia in Lutetia, Paris.
There, she began her charitable works by rendering help to the needy.Her piety, charity, and devotion to religion got her recognized andendeared her to lots of people.
Through this all, she remained dedicated to the mortification of theflesh by abstaining from various acts and breaking her long fasts onlytwo days a week. She continued this over the years, while getting bothlove and animosity from people in the city.
She loved God and in return, she exhibited divine intervention. She wasknown to perform miracles and receive visions of angels and saints. Thisfurther caused her to be criticized until her enemies decided to end itall by drowning her in a lake. She was saved by the timely interventionof Saint Germanus, who then appointed her to lead all consecratedvirgins in the church.
It was in that period that Attila the Hun was on a rampage of seizingtowns and waging war on every city he could reach. When he finallyarrived in Paris to wage war, every Parisian was prepared to run forcover. Saint Genevieve however urged them all to stay behind, pray andfast for God’s intervention. She told them to be rest assured that theywere going to be safe.
And they were. It is widely believed that it was Saint Genevieve’sprayers that saved the city from Attila’s scourge.
In 464, During Childeric’s siege and the Famine, Saint Genevieve wasable to pass through blockades into Troyes, bringing back bags of cornto the people. She had a great effect on the Pagan Childeric, whorespected her wish for him to release his prisoners of war.
Saint Genevieve adored Saint Denis, a Christian Martyr, and harbored awish to build a chapel in his honor. She honored this wish and thechapel became a favorite choice for pilgrims.
The year of Saint Genevieve’s death is stated to be between 502 and 512.Even after her death, her relics were cherished and claimed to havecarried out miracles.
5 Interesting Facts About St. Genevieve
- Did you know that Saint Genevieve is often depicted holding a lit
candle? Apart from her being depicted holding a book, torch or
loaf of bread, Saint Genoese is often seen in artworks holding a
lit candle with the devil leering at her from behind.
- Did you know that Saint Germanus gifted Saint Genevieve a medal with
a crucifix in remembrance of her consecration? It was most prized
possession and she kept this medal until her death.
- Saint Genevieve was instructed to never wear any other kind of
jewelry. This instruction was given to her by Saint Germanus after
her consecration so that she might do away from vanity.
- Did you know that Saint Genevieve liked to go and pray in Church at
night by the light of a candle? On one of such occasions, her
candle was blown out. It is of wide belief that the devil blew out
her candle in order to scare her.
- Did you know that Saint Genevieve was a vegetarian? She never ate
meat and only broke her fasting on Sundays and Thursdays.
Prayer to St. Genevieve
Saint Genevieve, you who by the days before, penance and prayer, ensuredthe protection of Paris, intercede near God for us, for our country, forthe devoted Christian hearts.You who cured the sick and fed the hungry, obtain the light of God andmake us stronger to reject temptation.You who had the concern of the poor, protect the sick, the abandoned,and the unemployed. You who resisted the armies and encouraged thebesieged, give us the direction for truth and justice.You who through the centuries never ceased taking care of your people,help us to keep the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ. May your examplebe for us, an encouragement to always seek God and serve him through ourbrothers and sisters. Amen.