St. Germaine was born in France in 1579. While still an infant, her father married her step-mother who took an immediately dislike to Germaine because she had a deformed and paralyzed right hand. Germaine was fed so little, she ate what was left by the dogs and sheep. She was treated horribly by her step-mother and eventually was forced to live with the sheep in the barn because no one wanted her illnesses, which were many, to be caught by the other children.
Germaine was soon entrusted with the sheep. No one expected her to have any use for education so she spent long days in the field tending the sheep. Instead of being lonely, she found a friend in God and attended mass daily. She didn't know any theology and only the basics of the faith that she learned during the catechism. But she had a rosary made of knots in string and her very simple prayers: "Dear God, please don't let me be too hungry or too thirsty. Help me to please my mother. And help me to please you." Out of that simple faith, grew a profound holiness and a deep trust of God.
No matter how little Germaine had, she shared it with others. Her scraps of food were given to beggars. Her life of prayer became stories of God that entranced the village children. This most unlikely of saints became recognized by the Church because of the life she lived. She didn't found a religious order. She didn't reach a high Church post. She didn't write books or teach at universities. She didn't go to foreign lands as a missionary or convert thousands. What she did was live a life devoted to God and her neighbour no matter what happened to her.
Two of our homes have adopted St. Germaine as their patron Saint; one in Red Deer and one in Edmonton. She was chosen because St. Germaine never let her disability stop her from serving others. She worked to bring hope to the people she cared for through compassion, humility and respect.