For the Preservation of the Deposit of the Faith!
For the Kingdom of God to come!
Near Toulouse, in a small village called Pibrac, Germaine was born into poverty; her mother, exhausted no doubt by privation and work, gave her only a puny life and impoverished blood. The child grew up suffering and sickly… Still very young, one of her hands was deformed by pain; sores formed on her neck; she did not know the beauty of the body, but her soul was sweet and pure; and her heart, simple and candid, was enriched every day, without knowing it, with holy virtues… Germaine soon needed them for great sorrows: she lost the sweetest treasure of her life, her mother… Another woman arrived, hard and mean, and the poor little girl, having nothing that pleases the eyes, little by little found her tormentor in the one who owed her a maternal love. To free her eyes, the stepmother threw her into the painful care of the flocks. It was there that the Lord waited for His predestined child, to speak to her heart, and to make her beautiful soul blossom in the breath of His love, in the peaceful solitude of the fields.
At dawn, she raised her thoughts to Heaven, and the hours flowed delightfully in conversation with the Lord. When she returned home in the evening, bitter sufferings awaited her; but all the sorrows slipped over this soul which God had inundated with joy during the whole day; she kept silence then, and lowering her head under the insults, she contemplated in her heart the divine Crucified One whom she loved, happy to suffer with Him. Rebuked on earth, the angels became her friends; they came, at her calling, to surround the sweet and pious shepherdess; and when the village bell announced the Holy Sacrifice, she entrusted her flock to them in order to go adore and receive her God, and never, it is said, during her absence did a single lamb fall prey to the wolves. She never failed to make this daily journey, even though the weather was rainy and the roads were miserable. One of her historians reflects on this subject as follows: This may seem to some a disorder rather than a virtue, as in one who, to satisfy her particular devotion, would have failed in the duties of her state. But since in doing so she was moved by a particular movement of God, God also provided by another means for the care of the flock. When she left, the blessed child stuck her distaff straight into the ground, and the docile and obedient sheep gathered around it, and it never happened that, until the shepherdess arrived, any sheep got separated from the others, or that, straying, it caused the least damage to the neighbor’s sown fields.
Moreover, in the surrounding woods there were many ferocious wolves, which, from time to time, especially in winter, driven by hunger, came out and, attacking the flocks, although well guarded and defended, made a horrible slaughter of them. Germaine’s only flock, abandoned and alone, and not even defended by the dogs she did not have, was never touched or attacked in any way.
God wanted to show by another miracle how pleasing to Him the devotion of His servant was. To get to the parish of Pibrac, located at the top of the hill, she had to cross a small stream that runs at the bottom of the cliff and separates one hill from the other. Now, this torrent or stream, sometimes swollen by the abundance of the rains which had occurred, rolled a great abundance of water, which made it not only difficult, but even impossible, to ford, especially for a very young child. Nevertheless, the pious Germaine, putting all her trust in God, at the first sound of the bell, set out at once to go to the church. On her way to and from Mass, she crossed the torrent freely and on dry ground, either because the waters, suspending their course, divided, or because she had been transported by an invisible hand to the other bank.