Our Lady of the Taper of Cardigan (1100s) and Memorials of the Saints – 15 June:

Our Lady of the Taper of Cardigan (1100s)– 15 June:

During the middle ages there was a notable pilgrimage in honour of Our Lady in Cardigan. A beautiful legend describes how a Statue of Mary was found by the side of the river Teifi, “and her sonne upon her lappe and the taper bernynge in her hande.” It was taken to the Parish Church but would not remain there, returning three or four times to “the place where now is buyIded the Church of our Lady,” the present St.Mary’s Church. A chantry Priest sang Mass daily in honour of Our Lady for pilgrims who came to pray and leave gifts. They lodged with the Knights Hospitallers of S. John, where the Angel Hotel now stands.

St Mary’s dates from 1158, built to hold the Statue. It resembles an earlier Shrine in the city of Arras, which was then in Flanders. Did Flemish merchants, who settled in Cardigan and traded in Welsh wool out of the port, bring the Statue back with them?

Devotion to Mary was once universal in Wales. Many places are called Llanfair or Capel Mair (Mary’s Church, Chapel) and dozens of flowers and plants bear her name. No girl was given the name Mair (Mary), as it was reserved for Our Lady.

We do not know how the devotion transferred to Barcelona and Cagliari. In the 1320’s and 1330’s Catalonian sailors had thronged British waters. Did they come to Cardigan, see the Shrine and copy it? In 1904 Breton Monks, in exile near Cardigan, revived the devotion, giving the title Our Lady of Cardigan to their Abbey Church and also to the little Church they opened in Town in 1912. They left in 1916 and another generation passed before the name was heard again.

In 1952 Martin Gillett, who later was to found the Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary, told Bishop Petit that Cardigan had once possessed a famous Shrine. The Bishop instantly decided to restore it. In 1956 a new Statue was blessed by Cardinal Griffin in Westminster Cathedral and then taken to every Parish in the Diocese of Menevia before arriving in Cardigan. On 27 May 1956, a great concourse from all parts of Britain bore it to the little Church of Our Lady of Sorrows. On 23 July 1970 Bishops Petit and Fox consecrated the new church of Our Lady of the Taper, named after the Shrine. Three days later pilgrims transferred the Statue there.

The original Statue was taken to London and destroyed at Chelsea in 1538 along with other Marian images on the orders of Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Essex, Chief Minister of King Henry VIII. Mother Concordia, OSB, was asked to make another in bronze. Designated as a Welsh National Shrine of Our Lady, it was blessed in Cardiff Metropolitan Cathedral and brought all over Wales before, on Pentecost Sunday, 18 May 1986, it was solemnly installed in the presence of 4,500 pilgrims. Its beauty catches the imagination and arouses devotion. Pope John Paul II wrote a special message for the occasion, and a taper he blessed in Rome was placed in the hand of the statue and lit.

Its symbolism is that Mary presents her Son to us, as she did to the Wise Men, to be adored. The taper testifies that He is Light of the World. Pilgrims come to pray individually and in groups. May they learn to treasure the word of God in their hearts, as Mary did, and live by the light of her Son, who is her Saviour and ours.

St Abraham of Saint-Cyriacus
St Achaicus of Corinth
St Barbara Cui Lianshi
St Benildis of Córdoba

St Bernard of Montjoux/Menthon CRSA (c 1020-1081) “Apostle of the Alps” Priest, Founder of a patrol that cleared robbers from the mountains and he established hospices for travellers and pilgrims. The large dogs, trained to search for lost victims in the mountains, are named for him. Patronages – Alpinists, Alps (proclaimed by Pope Pius XI on 20 August 1923), Campiglia Cervo, Italy, mountain climbers (proclaimed by Pope Pius XI on 20 August 1923), mountaineers, skiers, travellers in the mountains (proclaimed by Pope Pius XI on 20 August 1923).

St Constantine of Beauvais
St Domitian of Lobbes
St Edburgh of Winchester
St Eigil
St Eutropia of Palmyra
St Fortunatus of Corinth

St Germaine Cousin (1579–1601) Incorrupt- Laywoman, Penitent, Apostle of Charity, miracle-worker. Patronages – abandoned people, abuse victims, child abuse victims, against poverty, disabled and handicapped, people, girls from rural areas, illness, impoverishment, loss of parents, shepherdesses, people disfigured by disease, physical therapists.
Her Holy Life:

St Hadelinus of Lobbes
St Hesychius of Durostorum
St Hilarion of Espalion
Bl Juan Rodriguez
St Julius of Durostorum
St Landelin of Crespin
St Leonides of Palmyra
St Libya of Palmyra
St Lotharius of Séez
St Melan of Viviers
St Orsisius
Bl Pedro da Teruel
Bl Peter Snow
St Pierre de Cervis
Blessed Pietro Nolasco Perra OdeM (1574-1606)
Bl Ralph Grimston
St Tatian of Cilicia
Bl Thomas Scryven
St Trillo of Wales
St Vaughen of Ireland

St Vitus (c 290-c 303) – Martyr, One of the Seven Holy Helpers. Died aged 12-13 years of age. Patronages – against animal attacks, against dog bites, against epilepsy; epileptics, against lightning, against over-sleeping, against rheumatic chorea or Saint Vitus Dance, against snake bites, against storms, against wild beasts, of actors, comedians, dancers, dogs, Bohemia, Czech Republic, Serbia, 17 cities.
His very short life:

St Vitus Cathedral, Prague, Czech Republic:

St Vouga of Lesneven

Martyr of Lucania – 11 saints: Eleven Christians martyred together. We known nothing else about them but the names – Anteon, Candidus, Cantianilla, Cantianus, Chrysogonus, Jocundus, Nivitus, Protus, Quintianus, Silvius, Theodolus in Lucania (modern Basilicata), Italy, date unknown.


One Minute Reflection – 15 June – ‘… Go with him for two miles.’

One Minute Reflection – 15 June – “Month of the Sacred Heart” – Monday of the Eleventh Week of Ordinary Time, Year A, Readings: 1 Kings 21:1-16, Psalm 5:2-3, 4-7, Matthew5:38-42 and the Memorial of St Germaine Cousin (1579–1601)

“Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles.” … Matthew 5:41

REFLECTION – “Do you grasp the excellence of a Christian disposition? After you give your coat and your cloak, even if your enemy should wish to subject your naked body to hardships and labours, not even then, Jesus says, must you forbid him.   For He would have us possess all things in common, both our bodies and our goods, as with them that are in need, so with them that insult us.   For the latter response comes from a courageous spirit, the former from mercy.   Because of this, Jesus said, “If any one shall compel you to go one mile, go with him two.” Again He leads you to higher ground and commands you to manifest the same type of aspiration.   For if the lesser things He spoke of at the beginning receive such great blessings, consider what sort of reward awaits those who duly perform these and what they become even before we hear of receiving rewards.   You are winning full freedom from unworthy passions in a human and passible body.” … St John Chrysostom (347-407) Bishop, Father & Doctor (The Gospel of Matthew: Homily 18)matthew-5-41-should-anyone-press-you-into-service-do-you-grasp-the-excellence-of-a-christian-disposition-st-john-chrysostom-17-june-2019 and 15 june 2020

PRAYER – King of heaven and earth, Lord God, rule over or hearts and bodies this day.   Sanctify us and guide our every thought, word and deed according to the commandments of Your law, so that now and forever, Your grace may free and save us.   Teach us Lord to walk in the ways of the Cross of Your Son, our Saviour, as St Germaine Cousin so lovingly and willingly inspires us to do.   Through Christ our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God, forever, amenst germaine cousin pray for us 15 june 2020

Posted in ART DEI, SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 15 June – Saint Germaine Cousin (1579–1601)

Saint of the Day – 15 June – Saint Germaine Cousin (1579–1601) Laywoman, Penitent, Apostle of Charity, miracle-worker – born in 1579 at Pibrac, France and died in 1601 in her parents’ home in Pibrac, France, apparently of natural causes, aged 22.   Also known as Germana Cousin, Germaine of Pibrac.   Patronages – abandoned people, abuse victims, child abuse victims, against poverty, disabled and handicapped, people, girls from rural areas, illness, impoverishment, loss of parents, shepherdesses, people disfigured by disease, physical therapists.   Her body is incorrupt.William-Adolphe_Bouguereau_(1825-1905)_-_The_Young_Shepherdess_(1885)

bougereau shepherdess
These two “Shepherdesses” by William-Adolphe Bougereau are believed to be depictions of St Germaine

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 for 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.

131 st germaine cousin - _JeanFMilletLePetiteBergere
By Jean F Millet artist of “The Angelus”

She is practised many austerities as reparation for the sacrileges perpetrated by heretics in the neighbouring churches.   She frequented the Sacraments of Penance and the Holy Eucharist and it was observed that her piety increased on the approach of every feast of Our Lady. The Rosary was her only book and her devotion to the Angelus was so great that she used to fall on her knees at the first sound of the bell, even though she heard it when crossing a stream.   The villagers are said to have inclined at first to treat her piety with mild derision, until certain signs of God’s signal favour made her an object of reverence and awe.

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 meagre 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.   The stepmother, however, was unmoved and continued to persecute the young girl until her death.   This wasn’t for much longer, as Germaine soon died alone in the barn where she had been forced to live for 17 years.

Her father at last came to a sense of his duty, forbade her stepmother henceforth to treat her harshly and wished to give her a place in the home with his other children but Germaine begged to be allowed to remain in the humbler position.   At this point, when men were beginning to realise the beauty of her life, she died.   One morning in the early summer of 1601, her father found that she had not risen at the usual hour and went to call her, finding her dead on her pallet of vine-twigs.   She was 22 years old at the time.saint-germaine-deathst germaine body 2 blurry

Mysterious lights enveloped the barn the night she died.   Two monks who were travelling from Gascony noticed the light from far off. Approaching cautiously, they witnessed angels descending upon the barn in large numbers and taking a soul robed in a virgin’s gown, up to heaven.   It was only at Germaine’s deathbed that the stepmother finally began to weep bitterly for her mistreatment of the girl she eventually repented.

But, the story of Germaine’s life was soon forgotten.

In 1644, some 43 years following her death, the body of a noblewoman was being interred in front of the sanctuary of the church, when a workman accidentally exhumed Germaine’s incorrupt body from under the flagstone floor.   Her body looked and smelled as fresh as the day she had passed away.   News spread like wildfire throughout the town.   Her body was exposed in the Church in the hopes of eliciting religious fervour.Chasse_de_Sainte-Germaine

Madame de Beauregard, a prominent lady, put a stop to this.   She complained to the Parish Priest about the disgusting exhibit of a corpse near her pew.   She threatened to withhold alms if Germaine’s corpse continued to be exposed.   The Priest complied with her request and removed the casket.   Not long after, Madame de Beauregard was stricken with a fatal disease.   Distressed by his wife’s condition and her irreverence toward a possible saint, her husband pleaded for her life before the Tabernacle, requesting that Germaine intercede. Moments later, Germaine appeared in spirit to Madame de Beauregard and healed her instantly of her ailment.

Despite these apparent signs of sanctity and several attempts at initiating the cause of her Canonisation, Germaine wasn’t Beatified until May 7, 1854 – 210 years after her incorrupt body had been found. Her Canonisation finally took place on 29 June 1867 By Pope Pius germain cousin

Saint Germaine was forgotten, neglected and unloved for most of her life.   Even after her death, it seemed that the Lord purposely kept her well hidden.   Most Catholics have never heard of her and that includes Religious and Priests.   In our complex and fast-paced world, Germaine’s simplicity, charity and piety don’t seem to fit in anywhere.St._Germaine_de_Pibrac_-_Basilica_of_the_Immaculate_Conception_-_Lourdes_2014

The reason is, that we have now brought up entire generations of entitled young people, who see themselves as central to the universe’s purpose.   They are the first to complain if things don’t go their way.   In recent news, is it not surprising to learn about a woman stabbing her fiancé over their wedding colour scheme?   We are witnessing the consequences of a narcissistic culture that seeks pleasure without any kind of moral compass to guide the conscience.

How could Germaine’s life story fit into such a culture?   It would seem, that we are not quite ready yet.

We and our children were brought up on the idea that our “self-esteem” needed to be enhanced.   In this way, we’ve made an entire generation incapable of seeing it’s own darkness, empowered with the perception of its own strength and unique gifts.   At the same time, this generation’s children, disconnected from any moral compass, think they can do no harm.   Meanwhile, a mother in her thirties was sucker-punched while walking with her daughter.   No apparent reason was reported, but the public was outraged that such random acts of violence could take place.   It was part of the “knockout game,” a depraved form of entertainment for young people.

It is imperative that we begin, once again, to talk to our children about living virtuous lives of self-effacement and not self-empowerment – lives of temperance and not overindulgence.   It is pressing, that we share with our children, the idea of living a simpler life that is rooted in love, penance, almsgiving and prayer.Saint_Germaine_Cousin

Our children need to hear that the Lord Jesus is drawn to those who are small, hidden and pure, not just to those who are smart, rich, attractive and self-empowered.

In the book Germaine:  Requiem of a Soul, Andrew St-James recounts the full history of Saint Germaine.   She was a pure soul who abandoned herself completely to divine providence, who learned to surrender her will completely to germaine holy card

This inspirational story shatters all the conventional theories modern man may have about God and about the modern concepts of self-empowerment  . For when Jesus approaches, He does not strengthen and empower the individual, as most Protestant evangelists claim. Instead, as Jean-Pierre de Caussade writes, “when the Lord approaches, he weakens.”

God is not distant from the suffering of man.   The story of Germaine Cousin attests to that truth.   The events that surround the life of Saint Germaine have been clearly documented and can be regarded as a reliable historical record of her most remarkable life.   It’s a story that has been lost but it is time now for it be told to our children and loved ones. Amenst germaine cousin lg