Saint GenevieveSaint Genevieve
Patron Saint of Paris
420 – 519 A.D.

Staint Genevieve, according to popular tradition, was the daughter of peasants, Severus and Gerontia, who lived in Nanterre, near Paris. She was early remarkable for her piety and modesty, and soon devoted herself to a life of holiness and purity. On the death of her parents she removed to Paris, where her active charity, and the extraordinary reputation for sanctity which she acquired, won for her the admiring veneration, not alone of her own people, but even of the heathen and half converted.

In 451 Atilla and his Huns were sweeping over Gaul, and the inhabitants of Paris prepared to flee. Genevieve encouraged them to trust in God, and urged them to do works of penance, and added that if they did so the town would be spared. Her exhortations prevailed, the citizens recovered their calm, and Atilla’s hordes turned off toward Orléans, leaving Paris untouched.

Later, when Clovis besieged the city, Genevieve, with her sisters in religion, set out on an expedition for the relief of the starving people and successfully conveyed to Paris a supply of provisions. After Clovis’s conversion the city opened its gates to him by her advice. In 511 she formed the plan of erecting a church in Paris in honor of Saints Peter and Paul. Genevieve died the following year, and when the church was completed her body was interred within it. This fact, and the numerous miracles wrought at her tomb, caused the name of Sainte-Genevieve to be given to it.

An edifice built in her honor and upon the supposed site of her tomb, now called the Pantheon, contains the famous mural painting by Puvis de Chavannes.

She is the patron saint of Paris, and the subject of many popular and poetical legends.


Reference: Famous Women; An Outline of Feminine Achievement Through the Ages With Life Stories of Five Hundred Noted Women By Joseph Adelman. Copyright, 1926 by Ellis M. Lonow Company.

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