Saint Genevieve (French: Sainte Geneviève; Latin: Sancta Genovefa, Genoveva; from Gaullish geno "race, lineage" and uida "sage")[1] (Nanterre, c. 419/422 AD – Paris 502/512 AD), is the patron saint of Paris in the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions. Her feast day is kept on January the 3rd.

She was born in Nanterre and moved to Paris after encountering Germanus of Auxerre and Lupus of Troyes and dedicated herself to a Christian life.[2] In 451 she led a "prayer marathon"[3] that was said to have saved Paris by diverting Attila's Huns away from the city. When the Germanic king Childeric I besieged the city in 464, she acted as an intermediary between the city and its besiegers, collecting food and convincing Childeric to release his prisoners.[2]

Her following and her status as patron saint of Paris were promoted by Clotilde, who may have commissioned the writing of her vita. This was most likely written in Tours, where Clotilde retired after her husband's death, as evidenced also by the importance of Martin of Tours as a saintly model.[2]

Saint Genevieve
Saint Genevieve, seventeenth-century painting, Musée Carnavalet, Paris
Bornc. 419–422
Nanterre, France
Died502–512 (aged 79–93)
Paris, France
Venerated inRoman Catholic Church,
Eastern Orthodox Church
Feast3 January


Though there is a vita that purports to be written by a contemporary, Genevieve's history cannot be separated from her hagiography. She was described as a peasant girl born in Nanterre to Severus (a Gallo-Roman) and Geroncia (Greek origins). On his way to Britain, Germanus of Auxerre stopped at Nanterre, and Genevieve confided to him that she wanted to live only for God. He encouraged her and at the age of fifteen, Genevieve became a nun. On the deaths of her parents, she went to live with her godmother Lutetia in Paris ("Lutetia" was the former name of the city of Paris, so this has symbolic weight.) There the young woman became admired for her piety and devotion to works of charity, and practiced corporal austerities which included abstaining from meat and breaking her fast only twice in the week. "These mortifications she continued for over thirty years, till her ecclesiastical superiors thought it their duty to make her diminish her austerities."[4] She encountered opposition and criticism for her activities, both before and after she was again visited by Germanus from those who were jealous or considered her an impostor or hypocrite.

Geneviève had frequent visions of heavenly saints and angels. She reported her visions and prophecies, until her enemies conspired to drown her in a lake. Through the intervention of Germanus, their animosity was finally overcome. The Bishop of Paris appointed her to look after the welfare of the virgins dedicated to God, and by her instruction and example she led them to a high degree of sanctity.[4]

Shortly before the attack of the Huns under Attila in 451 on Paris, Genevieve and Germanus' archdeacon persuaded the panic-stricken people of Paris not to flee but to pray. It is claimed that the intercession of Genevieve's prayers caused Attila's army to go to Orléans instead.[5] During Childeric's siege and blockade of Paris in 464, Geneviève passed through the siege lines in a boat to Troyes, bringing grain to the city. She also pleaded to Childeric for the welfare of prisoners-of-war, and met with a favorable response. Through her influence, Childeric and Clovis displayed unwonted clemency towards the citizens.[4]

Genevieve cherished a particular devotion to Saint Denis, and wished to erect a chapel in his honor to house his relics. Around 475 Genevieve purchased some land at the site of the saint's burial and exhorted the neighboring priests to use their utmost endeavors. When they replied that they had no lime, she sent them to the bridge of Paris, where they learned the whereabouts of large quantities of this material from the conversation of two swineherds. After this the building proceeded successfully.[6] The small chapel became a famous place of pilgrimage during the fifth and sixth centuries.[7]

Death and burial

Front of the Ancient Church of the Abbey of Sainte Genevieve in Paris founded by Clovis and rebuilt from the Eleventh to Thirteenth Centuries State of the Building before its Destruction at the End of the Last Century
Front of the Church of the former Abbey of St Genevieve-(which she was said to have inspired)

Clovis I founded an abbey where Genevieve might minister, and where she herself was later buried.[8] Under the care of the Benedictines, who established a monastery there, the church witnessed numerous miracles wrought at her tomb. As Genevieve was popularly venerated there, the church was rededicated in her name; people eventually enriched the church with their gifts. it was plundered by the Vikings in 847 and was partially rebuilt, but was completed only in 1177.

In 1129, when the city was suffering from an epidemic of ergot poisoning, this "burning sickness" was stayed after Saint Genevieve's relics were carried in a public procession. This was repeated annually with the relics being brought to the cathedral; Mme de Sévigné gave a description of the pageant in one of her letters. The relief from the epidemic is still commemorated in the churches of Paris.[9]

Châsse shrine Ste Geneviève Saint Etienne du Mont
Tomb of Saint Genevieve in the church of Saint Etienne du Mont

After the old church fell into decay, Louis XV ordered a new church worthy of the patron saint of Paris; he entrusted the Marquis of Marigny with the construction. The marquis gave the commission to his protégé Jacques-Germain Soufflot, who planned a neo-classical design. After Soufflot's death, the church was completed by his pupil, Jean-Baptiste Rondelet.

The Revolution broke out before the new church was dedicated. It was taken over in 1791 by the National Constituent Assembly and renamed the Panthéon, to be a burial place for distinguished Frenchmen. It became an important monument in Paris.

Though Saint Genevieve's relics had been publicly burnt at the Place de Grève in 1793 during the French Revolution, the Panthéon was restored to Catholic purposes in 1821. In 1831 it was secularized again as a national mausoleum, but returned to the Catholic Church in 1852. Though the Communards had dispersed the relics (there is no proof of this allegation, the relics having been burnt during the Revolution on november 8th 1793 when the golden socket was taken to the Monnaie de Paris to be melt and the gems removed), some managed to be recovered. In 1885 the Catholic Church reconsecrated the structure to St. Geneviève.

Canons of Saint Genevieve

Panthéon de Paris - 02
The Panthéon, Paris

About 1619 Louis XIII named Cardinal François de La Rochefoucauld abbot of Saint Genevieve's. The canons had been lax and the cardinal selected Charles Faure to reform them. This holy man was born in 1594, and entered the canons regular at Senlis. He was remarkable for his piety, and, when ordained, succeeded after a hard struggle in reforming the abbey. Many of the houses of the canons regular adopted his reform. In 1634, he and a dozen companions took charge of Saint-Geneviève-du-Mont of Paris. This became the mother-house of a new congregation, the Canons Regular of Ste. Genevieve, which spread widely over France.

The institute named after the saint was the Daughters of Ste. Geneviève, founded at Paris in 1636, by Francesca de Blosset, with the object of nursing the sick and teaching young girls. A somewhat similar institute, popular buriel Miramiones, had been founded under the invocation of the Holy Trinity in 1611 by Marie Bonneau de Rubella Beauharnais de Miramion. These two institutes were united in 1665, and the associates called the Canonesses of Ste. Geneviève. The members took no vows, but merely promised obedience to the rules as long as they remained in the institute. Suppressed during the Revolution, the institute was revived in 1806 by Jeanne-Claude Jacoulet under the name of the Sisters of the Holy Family.

See also


  1. ^ Evans, D. Ellis (1967). Gaulish personal names: a study of some Continental Celtic formations. Clarendon P.
  2. ^ a b c McNamara, Halborg, and Whatley 18.
  3. ^ McNamara, Halborg, and Whatley 4.
  4. ^ a b c MacErlean, Andrew. "St. Genevieve." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 6. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909. 19 Jul. 2014
  5. ^ Bentley, James (1993). A calendar of saints: the lives of the principal saints of the Christian Year. London: Little, Brown. p. 9. ISBN 9780316908139.
  6. ^ Hinds, Allen Banks. Hinds, “Saint Genevieve”. A Garner of Saints, 1900. CatholicSaints.Info. 19 April 2017
  7. ^ Alston, George Cyprian. "Abbey of Saint-Denis." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 13. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 2 December 2017
  8. ^ Farmer, David Hugh (1997). The Oxford dictionary of saints (4. ed.). Oxford [u.a.]: Oxford Univ. Press. pp. 200–201. ISBN 9780192800589.
  9. ^ Attwater.
  • Attwater, Donald; John, Catherine Rachel (1993). The Penguin Dictionary of Saints (3 ed.). New York: Penguin. ISBN 0-14-051312-4.
  • McNamara, Jo Ann; Halberg, John E.; Whatley, E. Gordon (1992). Sainted Women of the Dark Ages. Durham: Duke UP. ISBN 978-0-8223-1216-1.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "St. Genevieve". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton.

External links

G Hannelius

Genevieve Knight "G" Hannelius (born December 22, 1998) is an American actress and singer. She starred as Avery Jennings in the Disney Channel sitcom Dog with a Blog. Prior to this, she had recurring roles in the Disney Channel series Sonny with a Chance and Good Luck Charlie. She has also starred in Leo Little's Big Show and has done voice work as Rosebud in the Air Buddies films. She also guest starred in Disney Channel's series Jessie.

Genevieve Cortese

Genevieve Nicole Cortese, also known as Genevieve Padalecki (born January 8, 1981), is an American actress. She appeared in the television series Wildfire as Kris Furillo and had a recurring role in Supernatural as the demon Ruby.

Genevieve Nnaji

Genevieve Nnaji (; born 3 May 1979) is a Nigerian actor, producer, and director. She won the Africa Movie Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role in 2005, making her the first actor to win the award. In 2011, she was honoured as a Member of the Order of the Federal Republic by the Nigerian government for her contribution to Nollywood.

Geneviève Bujold

Geneviève Bujold (French pronunciation: ​[ʒən.vjɛːv by.ʒo]; born July 1, 1942) is a Canadian actress. She is best known for her portrayal of Anne Boleyn in the 1969 film Anne of the Thousand Days, for which she received a Golden Globe for Best Actress, and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress. Subsequent film credits include The Trojan Women (1971), Earthquake (1974), Obsession (1976), Coma (1978), Murder by Decree (1979), Tightrope (1984), Dead Ringers (1988), The House of Yes (1997), and Still Mine (2012).

Geneviève Castrée

Geneviève Elverum (née Gosselin; 9 April 1981 – 9 July 2016), also known as Geneviève Castrée, was a Canadian cartoonist, illustrator, and musician from Quebec. She once recorded under the name Woelv and later switched to Ô PAON.

List of Nigerian films

This is a list of films produced in Nigeria by year of release.


Marizy-Sainte-Geneviève is a commune in the Aisne department in Hauts-de-France in northern France.

National Register of Historic Places listings in Ste. Genevieve County, Missouri

This is a list of the National Register of Historic Places listings in Ste. Genevieve County, Missouri.

This is intended to be a complete list of the properties and districts on the National Register of Historic Places in Ste. Genevieve County, Missouri, United States. Latitude and longitude coordinates are provided for many National Register properties and districts; these locations may be seen together in a map.There are 6 properties and districts listed on the National Register in the county, including 2 National Historic Landmarks.

This National Park Service list is complete through NPS recent listings posted June 14, 2019.


The Panthéon (Latin: pantheon, from Greek πάνθειον (ἱερόν) '(temple) to all the gods') is a building in the Latin Quarter in Paris, France. It was originally built as a church dedicated to St. Genevieve and to house the reliquary châsse containing her relics but, after many changes, now functions as a secular mausoleum containing the remains of distinguished French citizens. It is an early example of neo-classicism, with a façade modelled on the Pantheon in Rome, surmounted by a dome that owes some of its character to Bramante's Tempietto. Located in the 5th arrondissement on the Montagne Sainte-Geneviève, the Panthéon looks out over all of Paris. Designer Jacques-Germain Soufflot had the intention of combining the lightness and brightness of the Gothic cathedral with classical principles, but its role as a mausoleum required the great Gothic windows to be blocked.

Sainte-Geneviève, Aisne

Sainte-Geneviève is a commune in the Aisne départment in Hauts-de-France in northern France.

Sainte-Geneviève, Manche

Sainte-Geneviève is a commune in the Manche department in Normandy in north-western France.

Sainte-Geneviève, Meurthe-et-Moselle

Sainte-Geneviève is a commune in the Meurthe-et-Moselle department in north-eastern France.

Sainte-Geneviève, Oise

Sainte-Geneviève is a commune in the Oise department in northern France.

Sainte-Geneviève, Seine-Maritime

Sainte-Geneviève (sometimes Sainte-Geneviève-en-Bray) is a commune in the Seine-Maritime department in the Normandy region in northern France.

Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois, Essonne

Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois (often abbreviated to SGdB) is a commune in the southern suburbs of Paris, France. It is located 23.5 km (14.6 miles) from the center of Paris, in the arrondissement of Palaiseau, in the Essonne department, in the Île-de-France region.

Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois, Loiret

Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois is a commune in the Loiret department in north-central France.


Sainte-Geneviève-lès-Gasny is a commune in the Eure department in Normandy in northern France.

Ste. Genevieve, Missouri

Ste. Genevieve (Sainte-Geneviève with French spelling) is a city in Ste. Genevieve Township and is the county seat of Ste. Genevieve County, Missouri, United States. The population was 4,410 at the 2010 census. Founded in 1735 by French Canadian colonists and settlers from east of the river, it was the first organized European settlement west of the Mississippi River in present-day Missouri.

Ste. Genevieve County, Missouri

Sainte Genevieve County, often abbreviated Ste. Genevieve County (French: Ste-Geneviève), is a county located in the eastern portion of the U.S. state of Missouri. As of the 2010 census, the population was 18,145. The largest city and county seat is Ste. Genevieve. The county was officially organized on October 1, 1812, and is named after the Spanish district once located in the region, after Saint Genevieve, patroness of Paris, France. It includes the earliest settlement west of the Mississippi River outside New Spain, part of the French colonial mid-Mississippi valley villages. It is one of the last places where the Paw Paw French is still spoken.

Virgin Mary
See also

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.