Her Courage Saved the City of Paris
423 – 501 A.D.
Geneviéve has the honorable distinction of having saved the city of Paris. She was born at Nanterre, near Paris, or, according to another tradition, at Montriere.
The Huns were one of the strange and savage hordes which came from central Asia, unforeseen and unaccountable as a flight of locusts. Terror before them, and devastation behind them. They were of the Tartar race, small, dark-hued, and hideous. They rode small, nimble horses — in fact, they seemed to live on horseback.
At the time of Geneviéve, Attila was their leader. For some years they had been kept beyond the Danube, but at length they came down upon the Western world like a deluge of death. Attila was the most ferocious of slayers and plunderers. His track was marked everywhere by fire and blood. He made no pretension to building anything. He had no desire to set up a government of his own. He announced himself as the “Exterminator of Nations.” He fought for the mere lust of plunder.
When it was known that Attila and his murderous horde were approaching Paris, the people were panic-stricken, and as by a common impulse were about to flee from the city. But there was one, and that one a woman, who had no fear. She plead with the people as well as with God. Her faith and courage calmed them down. They stood by their city, and it was saved.
Her reputation for sanctity was so great, that other people of other lands inquired concerning of her of every one who came from Gaul.
Her death occurred in 201, or according to another account in 512. Clovis, 465 – 511 A.D., erected the church of St. Geneviéve in her memory. the famous Pantheon of Paris now contains her tomb.
It is related of her, that when, in her earlier years, Childeric, King of the Franks, besieged Paris, later she went boldly out at the head of a brave little band, to procure provisions, and brought back boats laden with corn for the starving citizens. Childeric, though a foe and a heathen, respected the pious and patriotic maiden.
Reference: Woman: Her Position, Influence and Achievement Throughout the Civilized World. Designed and Arranged by William C. King. Published in 1900 by The King-Richardson Co. Copyright 1903 The King-Richardson Co.