Are There “New Age” Saints?

st germainLB asks: “Who is St. Germain(e)? Catholic? New Age? Another Culture?”

I guess you could say St. Germain is a New Age saint.

He’s a construct of theosophy, which is considered to be the birthplace of the modern New Age movement, a belief system condemned by the Church for its basis in the esoteric tradition of occultism. Theosophists believe St. Germain is an Ascended Master of the Great White Brotherhood, aka le Comte de Saint Germain and the Wonderman of Europe and “The man who knows everything and never dies.” He is believed to have been a healer and high priest in Atlantis whose “historical incarnations” include that of Christopher Columbus, St. Joseph, and Leonardo de Vinci. Legend has it Germain lived for 300 years which was partially due to the mysterious alchemical substances he created and subsequently imbibed.

In reality, there was a Count Germain who was born around 1712 and died in 1784. He was nothing more than a European courtier who used a variety of names and titles and who would deliberately obscure his origins by telling people he was 500 years old. It was the famous 19th century philosophy, Voltaire, who jokingly named him the “Wonderman”

But now that the Wonderman has left the earth, he is believed to live in the “higher realms” as the “Lord of the Seventh Ray” but who occasionally appears on earth to instruct his assistants. Theosophists believe Germain will reign during the New Age fantasy-realm known as the Age of Aquarius.

st. Germaine Counsis

st. Germaine Counsis

As fanciful as it all sounds, an organization known as the Saint Germain Foundation was actually condemned as a cult in 1995 in France. It was founded by Guy Ballard in 1930 who claimed he was hiking on the slopes of Mount Shasta in California when St. Germain appeared to him and started training him as a “Messenger.” This training ended up in a series of books and became the basis for the “I AM” movement. This movement calls for people to become aware of the “God Presence” which flows from the center of the universe. Their goal in life is to ascend to the ranks of the divine, which Guy and his wife Edna claim to have done by the end of their lives.

Ballard believed Jesus also gave him messages which explains why most members consider themselves to be Christian. The group is also very patriotic because they consider Ballard to have been an incarnation of George Washington.

The Foundation ran into trouble after Guy died suddenly in 1939. Edna took over but was indicted and convicted for mail fraud a few years later. The Supreme Court overturned the conviction in 1946 but the negative publicity that ensued did a great deal of damage to the group and caused it to become almost invisible for many years.  However, it has experienced a new growth with more than 300 I AM “sanctuaries” in the U.S. and around the world. The Church Universal and Triumphant is one of the most prominent of these sanctuaries.

Compare this “Saint” Germain with a real Saint by the same name – Germaine Cousins. As this bio reveals, she was a little girl born with a deformed right hand who was horribly abused by a stepmother who fed her so scantily that she learned how to crawl just so she could reach the food in the dog’s dish. As a toddler, she was once left in a drainage ditch for three days. Another time, her stepmother scalded her legs by pouring boiling water over them. Eventually, Germaine was banished to the family barn where she slept on bitterly cold winter nights with nothing more than the sheep to keep her warm.

But this little girl, who had no family to care for her, had one friend who never left her side – God. While she tended the family flock in the fields, she would pray to her only Friend, reciting the rosary on beds made out of knots and offering up her sufferings in atonement for the sins of those who abused her.

It was only when her holiness became so widely known they could no longer ignore it that her family offered to let her back in the family home. Germaine declined, preferring her straw bed in the barn with the animals and her beloved Friend. It was here that she was found dead, at the tender age of 22, in the year 1602.  After many miracles attributed to her intercession, Germaine was canonized by the Church in 1867. To this day, she is looked upon as the patron saint of abused children.

What a dichotomy these two saints are! One is based on the whims of an 18th century courtier who hobnobbed with the rich and famous of his time; the other was a real person whose way of dealing with the harsh cruelties of life has inspired millions to a peaceful acceptance of suffering. How significant that the “saint” responsible for bona fide miracles is the one with the crippled hand who died in a barn rather than the 500 year-old self-made Wonderman.

May God be forever praised for choosing the weak to shame the strong!

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