Saturday, January 3, 2009

St. Geneviève

Today is the feast of Saint Geneviève, Patroness of Paris. She was a virgin consecrated to God from her earliest childhood, and displayed wisdom and courage. She guided kings, fed and taught the poor, worked miracles, cast out demons and courageously withstood the Franks and Atila the Hun. She encouraged the people of Paris to pray and do penance in order to avert the plague. She died in 512 and her tomb was for centuries a sight of pilgrimage and healings for all of France. Louis XV began to build a new church in her honor in 1764 after he was healed through her intercession. During the Revolution the church was converted into a pagan temple called the Pantheon. Most of the Saint's relics were destroyed in 1791.



Catherine Delors said...

Thanks for remembering Paris's patroness, Elena! True, most of her remains were destroyed during the Revolution, but a shrine at the nearby Church of Saint-Etienne-du-Mont still contains some relics. John Paul II prayed there during his visit to France.

And now the Pantheon is not only a burial place, but it contains a wonderful series of life-size paintings by Puvis de Chavannes, dedicated to Saint Genevieve, in particular honoring her religious and political role as a friend of Clovis and Clothilde. A tribute worthy of an amazing woman.

elena maria vidal said...

I am so glad her relics are still in existence. Thank you for reminding us of those beautiful wall-paintings, Catherine, which I remember being inspired by as a young girl!

Susan said...

Thanks to Catherine for reminding us that the Pantheon has such a wonderful collection of paintings dedicated to St. Genevieve.

Thanks Elena for these columns and the wonderful job you do supporting Marie Antoinette.


lara77 said...

I remember seeing a statue in Paris dedicated to Admiral Coligny(Protestant who was murdered during the religious wars); the memorial inscribed how intolerance allowed this to happen. I wonder how many memorials are inscribed throughout Paris describing the intolerance and barbarism of the republic especially toward churches and cemeteries??