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Germaine Cousin was a 16th-century shepherdess who lived from 1579 to 1601. Born with a lame right hand and the disease scrofula (a non-tuberculous infection of the lymph nodes of the neck), she projected quite an unsightly appearance. The only child of Laurent Cousin and Marie Laroche, Germaine lived about 1.5 miles west of Pibrac, France. When she was just five years old, the plague suddenly took her dear mother, and her father soon after remarried. Germaine was physically and mentally abused by her new stepmother, Armande de Rajols.
Armande’s hatred of little Germaine was so intense that she forced her to live 17 years in the family barn and to watch the sheep near the wolf-infested La Bouconne forest, hoping the wolves would kill her. Isolated, cold, and lonely, Germaine embraced a life of prayer, penance, and almsgiving; she assisted the poor and hungry, even though she herself was malnourished. She offered up her suffering to God.
Abuses - Place - Wonders - Germaine - People
It was while these abuses were taking place that miraculous wonders began to surround Germaine. People from the village witnessed her, on several occasions, parting the turbulent spring waters of the Courbet, which she had to cross to get to Mass in the morning.
On another occasion, Germaine had filled her apron with surplus bread from her meager daily rations so that she may feed the poor. Her stepmother pursued her into town, hoping to expose her to the townspeople as a miscreant and a thief who was stealing from her household pantry. After catching up with her in the public square, she forced her to reveal the contents of her apron. When Germaine opened her apron, it wasn’t bread that came flowing out, but summer flowers. It was the middle of winter. Everyone was amazed and began to see Germaine in a different light....
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