Saint Genevieve

Blog Published: January 3, 2011
By Sister Julie

Today is the feast day of Saint Genevieve of Paris (512). I came across this stunning icon of her and wanted to share it with you. The symbols associated with her are beautiful:

  • a loaf of bread because she was generous to those in need
  • a coin suspended around her neck symbolizing her consecration to God
  • a candle which it said she used as she walked to church at night and which stayed lit despite the devil’s attempts to extinguish it
  • the clothing of a shepherdess because she grew up tending to flock

Saint Genevieve icon by Howard Anderson

Saint Genevieve icon by Howard Anderson. Oil and metal leaf on linen and wood 34" x 48" Located at Saint Genevieve High School, Panorama City, CA

Archived Comments

Jen January 3, 2011 at 2:39 pm

Huh, cool. I wasn’t aware that I even *had* a saint’s name. 

Sister Julie January 3, 2011 at 3:39 pm

It’s a good one. I expect to see you walking around with a loaf of bread in your hands from now on. 

Another Sister Julie, CSSF January 3, 2011 at 4:41 pm

Well, our SM Genevieve is aptly named. She began our sponsored ministry, Saint Felix Pantry, the largest weekly distributor of food in the sate of New Mexico. And it all started with a station wagon load of discarded, day-old bread. Sr. Genevieve was doing the community shopping and witnessed some workers at a local market throwing out the day-old bread. She asked if she could have it. (Sr. Genevieve can charm the coat off your back and make you feel good about giving it away!) Soon she was collecting from Dunkin’ Donuts, Baskin-Robbins, grocery stores, dairies, etc., and giving the food to the poor. She started to bring back so much food that it out-grew the station wagon. We dedicated a two-car garage to hold it all. Sr. Genevieve entrusted the ministry to our name sake, St. Felix of Cantalice, a questor for his Capuchin brothers who shared with the poor. Sr. Genevieve retired a few years ago from active ministry, but she still helps the pantry with her prayers and by getting her sisters to help bag 150 POUNDS of pinto beans (in 2# packages) every week for distribution at the Pantry. WOW! We bought the local pizza parlor and turned it into a ministry that distributes food, clothing and household items; offers free tutoring, financial help for utility bills or hotel vouchers, free legal help and employment information. Such a great development from one little sister, a loaf of bread and a generous heart. Happy Feastday, Sr. Genevieve! You are certainly a credit to your Congregation, to your beloved poor and your patron saint, and your heavenly Spouse.

Marsha West January 3, 2011 at 4:49 pm

One of my granddaughters, now doing her student-teaching through Cal State Chico in California, is a Genevieve. I just sent her a link to the blog and a “Happy Feast Day” message! I don’t think I’ve ever known anything about her patron saint. Thanks for the post, sisters!

Sr. Hildegard January 3, 2011 at 4:56 pm

Julie, no wonder you perked up during podcast last Friday when I mentioned icons. One of my new ones is up on my blog Monastic Musings, “Great Feast to Welcome the New Year.” Saving Jesus for another time. This icon is glorious. Wish I could more of his work. Many thanks.

Sister Julie January 3, 2011 at 6:55 pm

I LOVE the icon, Sister Hildegard. Beautiful! I have always been fascinated by icons and then learned a bit more about the theology and writing icons from our IHM iconographer, Sister Nancy Lee.

marla January 3, 2011 at 11:32 pm

How did a coin come to symbolize consecration to God?

Sister Julie January 4, 2011 at 9:33 am

Legend has it that when Saint Germanus was visiting the town Genevieve was from, he sensed that she would be called to consecrated life. So he told her (she was about 7 years old) and her parents. She asked to be consecrated that day. As a sign, the bishop took a gold coin from his pocket and gave it to her to remind her of her desire to be consecrated. The story varies but that’s the gist of it!

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