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Monday, April 4, 2011

Why Saint Genevieve?

This is a question I get quite often.

When it came time to pick a Saint for my Confirmation this was not something that I took lightly. Just ask my mother, I spent days in front of the computer looking up the life stories of every Saint under the sun to find the PERFECT one.

There are many websites out there that can tell you the life story of Genevieve which was remarkable in itself, but there were a few inspirations and one story in particular that led me to choose Saint Genevieve to be my Patron Saint.

Inspiration #1

St.Genevieve was born in the year 422 as a peasant girl in the small village. (I'm from a small village!) When She was 7 years old St.Germanus made a stop in Genevieve's village where crowds flocked to welcome him. He was drawn to Genevieve's devotion and thoughtfulness. Before he left the next morning he renewed Genevieve's consecration, blessed her and gave her a medal with a cross engraved in it. This was to remind her of her dedication to Christ and she was to wear it instead of pearls and gold necklaces or bracelets. For those of you that know me you may recollect that I rarely wear jewelry but it would be rare for you to catch me on a day where I'm not wearing my St.Genevieve medal and Holy Spirit dove around my neck.

Inspiration #2
She liked to go to church alone at night, praying by candlelight. One night, a gust of wind blew out her candle, and she accredited this to the devil trying to frighten her.  It's a well known fact that I'm a night-owl so it shouldn't come as a surprise that some of my most fruitful prayer comes in the middle of the night when darkness is around me. It is nice to know that when I ask she is there in the night praying for and with me

Inspiration #3
Genevieve was devoted to works of charity and practiced multiple mortifications including a vegetarian diet and fasting on all days of the week except Sundays and Thursdays. She drank only water and her meals included small amounts of bread and beans. She followed this diet until she was 50 when she was counseled that it would be best for her to eat more frequently so she added only milk and fish to her diet. I fail miserably with mortification. I guess that's the point right, mortification isn't supposed to be easy. Genevieve lived this as a part of her daily life. When I am struggling to make it even one day I turn to her prayers and support.

The story that led me to choose Saint Genevieve
In the year 451 when the Huns were marching towards Paris the citizens were ready to run in terror. It was Genevieve who persuaded them to stay. God had spoken to her and she told them that if they kept their faith in God, fasted, prayed and performed penance than the city would be protected by heaven and their lives would be spared. Some of the citizens did not believe her and when the Huns got closer to the city they fled out the back way which connected with a road that completely bypassed the city. Saint Genevieve and a group of people chose to stay. When the Huns arrived at Paris they decided not to take the city but to continue on the road that went around the city.

Because of Genevieve's trust in God she was saved. For this reason I chose her to be my Patron Saint. So many people were frightened and left. You could say it was the 'popular' thing to do. Genevieve knew that God would protect her and chose to stay. I pray that through the intercession of Saint Genevieve I will be able to listen to God, to do His will and to trust in Him to the extreme that Genevieve did. I pray that I may not succumb to what the world says is right as opposed to what the Lord says is right and know that no matter what if I do the will of God He will not lead me astray.

Her feast day is actually the same day as my oldest brother's birthday January 3rd!


Anonymous said...

Hi Cassi,
I came across your website today because I was digging deeper into St Genevieve's life for her associations. My fifth child is Genevieve, born September 18, 2010. Sadly she passed away on December 12th, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. As a Catholic, my children all have Catholic names, but more specifically, family names. However, Genny was special. In naming Genny I went for the history behind the name, not the family coorelation. I am a pretty determined person, not often deterred by others opinions or thoughts of me. I liked St Genevieve for her humble nature as well as her ability to stand ground in the face of danger. It was also a name I kept saying in the days before her birth, that I could hear my Grandmother saying. My grandmother passed 2 1/2 years before her birth, and ironically Genny is buried with her now. What struck me is your Inspiration #2. The night of December 11th, my husband and I slept very light. We had very strong rain and wind gusts. We have often said that that was Genny leaving us. So, in short, your website helped me today. We have had many a "co-incidences" with Genny's death, it has helped us with the "meant to be's". And this story of her childhood is just another. Our community started planned meals for our family on January 3rd, not knowing (as many of them are not Catholic) that that was her feast day. A good friend of mine did a Eucharistic devotion for her on January 3rd as well, also not knowing. And additionally, we had made "plans" on December 15th 2010 to not have any more children after Genny. Those plans changed after the morning of December 12th. We are now expecting a new life on December 15th, 2011, the very same day that we made plans to stop having children. So just as your similarities to St. Genevieve's life helped you to pick St. Genevieve, I have to think she picked you, as she picked us.

Anonymous said...

Hi Cassi,

I recently chose St. Genevieve for my confirmation name as well. I have just one other thought for you to think about The story you reference about the Huns, also showed that her trust in God provided her the confidence in herself to lead and persuade the citizens of Paris. Confidence to speak our prayers and uses these to influence others is not easy.

ps my middle name is Jean

Anonymous said...

I just saw your website today because I am getting confermed next May and was thinking about choosing St. Genevieve as my saint for comformation.

Anonymous said...

I just chose Saint Genevieve as my confirmation name. She is very inspirational and several of your connection actually relate to me too. Thank you for your insight.

Anonymous said...

I love the necklace charm, where did you get it?

Anonymous said...

When I was searching for a christian name to be baptized with (as an adult), I looked for something close to Jennifer, my given name, because I really didn't want to change my name that my parents gave me. I found a list of saints. Nothing in the J's felt right. Then accidentally, I saw Genevieve in the G's. (Jen/Gen) So, I asked St. Genevieve to give me confirmation if she is my patron saint. With in an hour, a young girl (a client at the salon) was sharing her hobbies. She began talking to me about her favorite musical Camelot. She then told me her favorite scene was the one where Lady Guinevere was praying to her Patron Saint Genevieve. She then turned to me and said "I like the name Genevieve, don't you?" I smiled and said yes, secretly knowing my prayers were answered, and was delighted because my name Jennifer means Guinevere, so I always felt a kinship to Lady Guinevere. I had no doubt St. Genevieve was to be my patron saint.

Frederic said...

Dear Cassi,
Actually Genevieve was not really a "peasant". She was the daughter of a powerful roman landlord of her village (Nanterre), and the story of her life tells tat she also had land in the village of Meaux. She was a lady, a landowner, but she chose poverty. I discovered her life not long ago. Much of her expériences are parts of the ones that mediums experiment. For example her 3 days "astral trip" as it is told by her biographer. Genevieve is a wonderful person who saved Paris from the Huns, like Aignan saved Orleans and like Rumi saved Konya from the Mongols. All the powers of God were Inside her. And it's no surprise that St Simeon on his column near Antocha was told by God about the virtue of Genevieve. Our writer Chateaubriand saif that France owed its all troubadour poetry, and ol its sense of wonderful stories and graces to the beauty and sweetness of St Genevieve. That is deeply true I think, and I'm very happy to learn that someone in the nieted States prays that saint just like we do in France.

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