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Paris: St. Genevieve Chapel in Saint Etienne du Mont (St-Étienne-du-Mont)

The story of Saint Genevieve:

Saint Etienne du Mont is the shrine dedicated to Saint Genevieve, patron saint of Paris. Born in 422 AD, there is not a great deal of documentation concerning her early life. She is credited with exhorting the people of Paris to perform acts of mercy rather than flee Paris when the city was threatened by the Huns in 451. The attacking Huns switched their attentions from Paris to Orleans. This was just one of many times that her name was mentioned.

Saint Genevieve wanted to have a church built in Paris to honor Saints Peter and Paul. The Church was built by Clovis and upon her death she was interred there. Many miracles were attributed to her intercession and as a result the church was renamed in her honor.

During the French Revolution the shrine was desecrated, her bones burned and then her ashes thrown in the River Seine. However the original tombstone from the shrine survived and is now in the Chapel of Saint Genevieve located in the Church of Saint Stephen.

We celebrate the Feast of Saint Genevieve on January 3.

Tomb of Blaise Paschal (1623-1662):

Also buried here is the great scientist of his day, Blaise Paschal. Secular forces would have people believe that the Church is opposed to science, when the opposite is true. The Church is responsible for many scientific advancements throughout the centuries. Blaise Paschal was both a brilliant scientist and a devout Roman Catholic.  In his Pensées (1657–58), Pascal applied elements of game theory to show that belief in the Christian religion is rational.  Although his earthly life was short, he left an enduring legacy….not only in his scientific efforts but in his theological views as well.

One legacy of Blaise Paschal is known as Paschal’s Wager:

Paschal argued that people can choose to believe in God or can choose to not believe in God, and that God either exists or he does not.  He said that it is not possible to prove or disprove that God exists and that when it comes to God’s existence, we are taking a big risk. Pascal thought it is better to bet that God exists, and therefore to live accordingly.

Visit of Pope John Paul II to the Church of St-Étienne-du-Mont:

Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass here on August 22, 1997 as part of the World Youth Day.


Finding the Church of St-Étienne-du-Mont:

Church of St. Etienne du MontThe Church is located next to the Pantheon, and often people overlook it in favor of its more well-known neighbor. That is unfortunate, because those who do visit Saint Etienne du Mont will tell you that it is well worth the visit and much more moving than the Pantheon. The church is beautiful inside and out.

We recommend “Little Black Book of Paris” and “Streetwise Maps” to help you find your way.

Click here for the official website of St-Étienne-du-MontSt.

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