January 3—St. Genevieve, Virgin
Genevieve was born at Nanterre, near Paris. St. Germanus, when passing through, specially noticed a little shepherdess, and predicted her future sanctity. At seven years of age she made a vow of perpetual chastity. After the death of her parents, Paris became her abode; but she often travelled on works of mercy, which, by the gifts of prophecy and miracles, she unfailingly performed. At one time she was cruelly persecuted: her enemies, jealous of her power, called her a hypocrite and. tried to drown her; but St. Germanus having sent her some blessed bread as a token of esteem, the outcry ceased, and ever afterwards she was honored as a Saint. During the siege of Paris by Childeric, king of the Franks, Genevieve went out with a few followers and procured corn for the starving citizens. Nevertheless Childeric, though a pagan, respected her, and at her request spared the lives of many prisoners. By her exhortations again, when Attila and his Huns were approaching the city, the inhabitants, instead of taking flight, gave themselves to prayer and penance, and averted, as she had foretold, the impending scourge. Clovis, when converted from paganism by his holy wife, St. Clotilda, made Genevieve his constant adviser, and, in spite of his violent character, made a generous and Christian king. She died within a few weeks of that monarch, in 512, aged eighty-nine.
A pestilence broke out at Paris in 1129, which in a short time swept off fourteen thousand persons, and, in spite of all human efforts, daily added to its victims. At length, on November 26th, the shrine of St. Genevieve was carried in solemn procession through the city. That same day but three persons died, the rest recovered, and no others were taken ill. This was but the first of a series of miraculous favors which the city of Paris has obtained through the relics of its patron Saint.
Reflection.—Genevieve was only a poor peasant girl, but Christ dwelt in her heart. She was anointed with His Spirit, and with power; she went about doing good, and God was with her.