Day 27: Saint Genevieve/My Jenevieve
06.01.2015 - 05.02.2015
I named my daughter Jenevieve long before I knew that Saint Genevieve was the patron saint of Paris. I changed the G to J to keep the initials of my three children the same. I agonized over what to name her, but the fact was that I had two boys already. There had not been a girl on my then-husband's side of the family for fifty years. My chances for a daughter were slim. I heard the name on the radio one day in my car and I loved it. I knew if I was fortunate enough to have a girl she would be my only daughter, so her name had to be perfect. Jenevieve hated her name when she was young. I think she was eight before she could spell it. The name was so long, it didn't fit on computer forms with those tiny squares that you had fill in all through school. She grew into it and now uses her full name professionally.
Saint Genevieve is credited with protecting Paris from barbarians in the 500s AD. The national Pantheon in the Latin Quarter in Paris was built as a dedication by Louis XV after he prayed to Saint Genevieve for recovery from a serious illness. For a while, the Pantheon was a religious monument, but then it became a civic building. I didn't realize until I visited, the Pantheon houses Foucault's pendulum which demonstrates the rotation of the earth. The inside is adorned with murals depicting the life of Genevieve, from her childhood through her miracles.
Standing on the steps, the view across the city is a straight shot to the Eiffel Tower.
The Pantheon is surrounded by a beautiful square with the Saint Genevieve library to your right, the intricate St. Etienne du Mont church to the rear, where there is a shrine to Saint Genevieve. You are also directly across from the Mayor's and other municipal offices, and opposite the University of Paris.
The Pantheon, Saint Genevieve Place, and the surrounding buildings are an enjoyable part of the Latin Quarter to visit, even if you don't have a personal connection to Genevieve as I do. Little did I know when I chose my daughter's name, I was naming her after this impressive woman; a woman who would be sainted after performing miracles. I adore all my children. But my Jenevieve, my only girl, is my personal miracle.