As a girl, my wife’s favorite story was Cinderella. I’m certain you are familiar with the story for it is a classic. However, are you familiar with St. Germaine Cousin, a 16th Century shepherdess? Her story is definitely lesser known than the popular Disney classic.
Cousin, a peasant girl, from outside of Toulouse, France, experienced hardship very early in her life. Her mother died during childbirth leaving Germaine to be raised by an unloving father and a stepmother who didn’t hide her hatred for Germaine. Her stepmother actually forced Germaine to sleep in the stables and filled her days with farm chores. The young peasant girl was forced to eat only the table scraps and survived on leftovers.
Yet, despite all of the injustices of her life, Germaine thrived. She accepted every abuse with cheerfulness and charity. She particularly welcomed the care of the family’s sheep. The time spent tending the animals was solitude and an opportunity to communion with God. For Germaine, the undisturbed time in prayer awakened an awareness of God’s continual presence in her life.
Germaine never missed attending the daily Mass. Whenever she heard the church bells, she would plant her crook in the ground and run to church, entrusting the care of her sheep to God. She always returned to the flock safe and sound. Over time, she developed a reputation of humility and holiness among her village. Unfortunately, the more her reputation grew, the harsher treatment she received from her stepmother.
Eventually, at the age of twenty-two, Germaine died from exposure to the elements while living in the stables. Her grave became a popular place for pilgrimages where people remembered her humility, generosity to all, and her acts of holy piety. Though she didn’t attend the ball nor marry a prince, Germaine’s story is a still a source of inspiration of quiet devotion and holy living.
In a world of fragmentation and polarization, we need more St. Germaines. We need people who choose to treat everyone with dignity and love. We need more people content with a simple life, walk in humility, and develop an awareness of God’s continual presence. Be like Germaine!
This Week’s Readings:
- Monday – Revelation 17
- Tuesday – Revelation 18
- Wednesday – Revelation 19
- Thursday – Revelation 20
- Friday – Revelation 21
Please Pray for:
- Our ministers and their families.
- Those who are unwillingly absent.
- The United Methodist Church family.
- Our nation and our leaders.
- The World.
- The Lost.
- The lives of those touched by the Coronavirus.