A difficult beginning
Germaine Cousin died in 1601 at the age of 22, and is the patroness of abuse victims, ugly people and the abandoned. From this, one can tell that her life was of great suffering; but it was also a beautiful life.
Germaine’s mother died early in her life; her father remarried, and the stepmother treated Germaine brutally. Germaine had
a deformed hand and suffered from scrofula – a swelling around the neck and face which caused open abscesses.
The stepmother suggested that Germaine be kept away from the home, to avoid infecting the other children. The little girl was sent to mind the sheep, and had to sleep in a stable or a bare room.
Stale bread and water were her sustenance; there are also accounts of the stepmother savagely beating or throwing boiling water over the girl. Germaine’s consolation was in prayer and in the local village church, where she became a daily Mass-goer. While she went to Mass, her sheep would huddle together and were providentially protected from the wolves nearby.
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