ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The 'Feast Day of St. Germana Cousin' Explained

Updated on May 27, 2015


Born in 1579, in Pibrac, near the capital city of Haute-Garonne, Toulouse, Saint Germana (Germaine) led a difficult life marked by abuse and isolation. Her father, Laurent Cousin, was known as a respectable farmer; her mother, Mary Larroche, died when she was five years old.

Physically marked by a deformed hand and the disease of scrofula, widely regarded as the "king's evil," Germana was shunned by her family, particularly her step-mother, who was afraid she would contaminate the others. In truth, the woman abhorred her, repulsed by the swelling and sores which marred her skin and disgusted by the useless arm that lay paralyzed from birth.

Today, the swelling she experienced in her lymph nodes would be seen as a symptom of tuberculosis and treated with antibiotics, but in the 1500's, it was rumored that scrofula could only be cured by the touch of a king. With no king in sight, Germana was cast off and sent to work as a shepherdess at the age of nine.

For Germana, the comforts of home were limited to a bed of vine-twigs in the stables. She knew no love, but was well acquainted with beatings, scalding water, and lack of sustenance. Food scraps were doled out begrudgingly and often laced with ashes. And although some might expect this kind of treatment to promote anger and frustration, Germana was well known for her patience and humility. Her constant isolation and loneliness only served to bring her closer to God.

Though poor, infirm, and physically weakened by year round exposure to the elements, Germana would leave her flock each day to assist with the Holy Sacrifice and attend mass. It is said that the sound of church bells would immediately bring her to her knees, and that no matter the weather, she would attend to her duties with a joyous heart. Though Germana had found no love or favor among the members of her family and was taunted by many in her community, she was visibly loved by God.


Germana subsisted on nothing more than bread and water and would share even the most meager of portions with those less fortunate. Her strength came from prayer, and her suffering was done in silence. The abuse she experienced was met with forgiveness.

Small children would often join her in the fields, where she would teach them catechism underneath a tree that still stands today. Her rosary beads consisted of a string; she knotted herself, and while attending church services, her flock was cared for by their very own guardian angel. The wolves that traversed the countryside never so much as came near them.....

As time went on, people talked about the miracles that surrounded this poor misshapen girl. A number of witnesses would find themselves running into the village to report the miraculous parting of the Courbet River, which granted her safe passage through the swollen waters on her way to mass, something that was observed each and every time its banks overflowed. There is no doubt that the villagers began to see Germana in a new light, but their new found reverence did not extend itself to the step-mother, who would consistently strive to discredit her.

One instance involved an accusation of theft and public finger-pointing, as the woman (her step-mother) threatened Germana with a stick and charged her with sharing stolen bread with the poor. The woman's angry shouts and threatening behavior soon drew a crowd, and all in attendance watched as Germana went to expose what she knew to be her own pitiful allowance of brown bread. It makes me smile to think how shocked her audience must have been when they saw her apron filled not with the bread everyone expected to see, but rather a mass of beautiful, unknown flowers...... fresh as could be, in the middle of winter.

Appalled by reports of his wife's behavior, Laurent finally acted like the father he should have been all along and intervened. He ordered his wife to cease her constant torment and abuse and requested his daughter come to live as one of the family...... this time, it would be Germana who refused.


Early one morning, in the spring of 1601, Laurent, alarmed by the bleating of sheep, realized Germana had not awoken at her usual hour. Anxious, he sent one of her brothers to check on her. When she didn't answer her bother's calls, Laurent himself went to her pallet where he found her dead. She was twenty-two years old.

Interred at the parish church in her hometown of Pibrac, Germana lay peacefully at rest until her grave was disturbed during the burial of one of her relatives forty-three years later in 1644. Miraculously, her body was found perfectly preserved, even though it had never been embalmed. Experts were called in to prove that her body had not been altered and to rule out the possibility that properties in the soil were responsible for its unaltered state. Administered tests negated both possibilities.

Since her death, Germana (Germaine) has been credited with intercession in over 400 miraculous occurrences, which include not only the healing of incurable ailments, but the multiplication of food to nourish the nuns in Bourges. Saint Germana is the patron saint of victims of child abuse, the disabled, the impoverished, and those who suffer from illnesses. Her official feast day is celebrated on June 15th.


"Saint Germana Cousin." Saint Germana Cousin . N.p., n.d. Web. 17 June 2014.

"Science Museum. Brought to Life: Exploring the History of Medicine." King's Evil and the Royal Touch . N.p., n.d. Web. 17 June 2014.

BUTIÑA, Francisco Javier., and William MACDONALD. "St. German Cousin." Light from the Lowly; Or, Lives of Persons Who Sanctified Themselves in Humble Positions ... Translated from the Spanish by ... W. McDonald, Etc . Gill & Son: Dublin, 1884. N. pag. Print.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)