GENEVIÈVE OF PARIS, VIRGIN
– RICHARD P. McBRIEN-
Geneviève, patron saint of Paris (ca. 422–ca. 500), was born to wealth in Nanterre, but moved, after the death of her parents, to Paris, where she continued her life of prayer and asceticism as a consecrated virgin. When Paris was besieged by the Franks under Childeric, she is said to have accompanied a group to obtain food and other provisions from neighboring towns and, in the process, to have won the respect of the Frankish leader, who spared the lives of many citizens in response to her pleas. She is also said to have encouraged the Parisians to fast and pray in order to avert an attack by Attila and his Huns. The invaders changed their route and the city was spared. The most famous miracle attributed to her was in connection with the great epidemic that affl icted France in the early twelfth century. All efforts, both medicinal and spiritual, had failed to halt its progress—until 1129, when the casket containing Genevieve’s bones was carried in solemn procession to the cathedral. (She is patron saint of those suffering from fever.) Her feast is not on the General Roman Calendar.