THE Octave of the Beloved Disciple closes to-day: let us devoutly offer him our parting homage. We shall meet him again, during the year; for, on May 6, when the Resurrection of his Divine Master is gladdening the Church with the Easter joys, we shall have the Feast of our Apostle’s Confession made before the Latin Gate: but his grand Feast ends to-day, and he has done too much on our behalf this Christmas for us to allow this Octave Day to pass without returning him our warmest thanks. Let us begin by exciting ourselves to a great reverence for our Saint; and to this end, let us continue the considerations we were making this day week on the favours conferred upon him by Jesus.
Saint Genevieve was born at Nanterre, near Paris. Saint Germanus, when passing through that village, noticed this 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 traveled on works of mercy in which she was assisted by the gifts of prophecy and miracles.
At one time she was cruelly persecuted. Her enemies, jealous of her power, called her a hypocrite and tried to drown her, but when Saint Germanus sent her some blessed bread as a token of esteem, the outcry ceased. 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 grain for the starving citizens. Childeric, though a pagan, respected her, and at her request spared the lives of many prisoners. When Attila and his Huns were approaching the city for another incursion, the inhabitants, instead of taking flight, asked her aid; and listening to her exhortations they undertook prayer and penance, thus averting the impending scourge, as she had foretold would be possible. Clovis, when converted from paganism by his holy wife, Saint Clotilda, made Genevieve his constant adviser, and, in spite of his violent character, became a generous and Christian king.
Saint Genevieve died in 512, at the age of eighty-nine. When in 1129 a pestilence broke out at Paris, in a short time it swept off fourteen thousand persons, and, in spite of all human efforts, daily added to its victims. At length, on November 26th, the reliquary of Saint Genevieve was carried in solemn procession through the city. That same day only 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.
Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894)
The Church celebrates a special festival for the glorification of the sacred Name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. This is salutary and right, for it is the Name of the Redeemer of the world; and, therefore, with regard to its relation to Him who bears it, and to the work He accomplished, it is a most solemn, mighty, holy, sanctifying, sweet and consoling Name. But the most important point in its consideration is that it exercises a powerful influence upon our lives as children of God and His Holy Church.
YESTERDAY we finished the Octave of the Birth of Jesus; to-day we shall finish the Octave of St Stephen; but this without losing sight one moment of the Divine Babe, whose Court is formed by Stephen, John the Beloved Disciple, the Holy Innocents, and St Thomas of Canterbury. In five days we shall see the Magi prostrate before the Crib of the new-born King; they are already on the way, and the Star is advancing towards Bethlehem. Let us spend the interval in reconsidering how great is the glory of our Emmanuel in his having lavished such extraordinary favours on these Saints whom he has chosen to be near him at his first coming into the world.