Considering that the Christian season of Lent began with Ash Wednesday yesterday in the Diocese of Orlando and wherever Catholicism is practiced, a description of the lives of the patron saints of children with disabilities is timely. The people whose lives will be remembered in today’s article are Blessed Margaret of Castello, Blessed Herman, and Saint Germaine Cousin.
Blessed Margaret of Castello (1287-1320) was born blind with a hump on her back and twisted limbs in Metola, Italy. Ashamed of their daughter, Margaret’s parents hid her until she was six years old at which time they took her to a cell next to the chapel that was to be her home for 14 years. After this, her parents took her to a shrine in hopes of a cure; alas, there was no cure for Margaret’s birth defects, and they ended up abandoning their daughter. After being taken in by kindly women, Margaret became a member of the Third Order of Saint Dominic, where she took care of the sick and dying and converted many sinners to Christianity. Margaret lived her life through prayer and penance while never speaking ill of her neglectful parents. Her feast day is on April 13.
Blessed Herman (1013-1054) was born with a cleft palate, spina bifida, and cerebral palsy in Swabia, Germany. Herman’s parents put their son into the care of the abbey of Reichenau, where Herman lived for 40 years. While there, Herman became a monk and wrote a poem about deadly sins, a mathematical-astronomical treatise, and two anthems to the Virgin Mary, “Alma Redemptoris Mater” and “Salve Regina” (“Hail Holy Queen”). His feast day is on September 25.
Saint Germaine Cousin (1579-1601) was born with a misshapen hand in Pibrac, France. Losing her mother shortly after her birth, Germaine also suffered from scrofula, a disease that causes swellings and boils on the body. Her stepmother, who treated her badly, forced her to be a shepherdess at a young age. An outcast from her family, Germaine lived a life full of prayer, penance, and good works, and she never spoke ill of her relatives. Her feast day is on June 15.
All of the above facts and additional information about patron saints can be found at the following website: http://www.penitents.org/prolifeprayer.html#Patron_Saints_of_Children_with_Disabilities_. If you want to pray to someone on behalf of your child with special needs or yourself, consider these patron saints.