WHO WAS SAINTE GENEVIEVE?

Genevieve was born in 422 in the village of Nanterre near Paris. At a young age she decided on a religious life, and moved to Paris upon the death of her parents.

In the year 449 the Franks lay siege to the city of Paris. Genevieve led an expedition for the relief of the starving population. They brought back supplies and enabled the resistance to continue.

When Attila the Hun, in the year 451, threatened to march on Paris, the inhabitants decided to abandon the city which then occupied only a small island in the River Seine. Genevieve assembled the women of the town in church to fast and pray. She emerged to tell the Parisians: "Forsake not your homes for God has heard my prayers. Attila shall retreat." Attila did change his course to bypass Paris and Genevieve was credited with having averted the impending calamity.

This is why she was known as the patron saint of Paris. In making her the patron of this town the early French were undoubtedly calling upon her to protect them from the many trials and hardships which they faced in the wilderness.

 

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Katy Hestand
Copyright 2001 by Lisa Buese.

© Copyright 2005 by Katy Hestand


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