O God, the exaltation of the lowly,
who willed that Blessed Marie-Céline
should excel in the
beauty of her charity
and patience, grant, through her merits
and intercession, that, carrying our cross each
may always persevere in love for You.
Through Christ our Lord.
Blessed Marie Celine
Born Germaine Castang on
May 23, 1878, she was the
fifth child of Germain and Marie Castang. These devout French parents
passed on to their twelve children two inestimable treasures – their
whole-hearted love of God and their open-handed generosity to His poor.
But soon the shadow of the Cross
fell across the happy household.
At age four, Germaine contracted a strange infection
which left her leg crippled. Her father’s imprudent business ventures
brought the family to utter destitution.
Three of her brothers died in an epidemic; a fourth
contracted tuberculosis while serving in the army.
sorrows mounted, Germaine’s virtue deepened.
She begged for her family’s daily bread, cared for
her siblings, comforted her parents.
When at last her father found employment, Germaine
was sent to boarding school.
It was there that the seed of a religious vocation
began to germinate.
But what community would accept a poor girl with a
when visiting an extern Sister of the Poor Clare Monastery in Talence,
Germaine mentioned her desire to enter religious life.
An interview was arranged, and the abbess recognized
the signs of God’s work in this ardent young soul.
Germaine was received to enter, and, from her first
day in the monastery, showed herself wholly committed to her vocation.
I do not want to be a religious by
November 21, 1896,
Germaine was given the Poor Clare habit and her new name: Sister
Marie-Céline of the Presentation.
Then she began to experience a debilitating fatigue,
the sign of advanced tuberculosis.
Her illness rapidly progressed and permission was
given for the dying novice to pronounce her vows.
She died, radiant in the freshness of her religious
May 30, 1897, seven days
after her nineteenth birthday.
In heaven I shall forget no one,
Sister Marie-Céline assured her
Sisters. As the fragrance of her holiness spread so did reports of favors
received through her intercession.
Pope Pius XII solemnly proclaimed the heroic virtues of Sister
Marie-Céline of the Presentation in 1957, and on
September 16, 2007, God’s violet was beatified in the Cathedral of Bordeaux, France.
(1878 - 1897)