Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Saint of the Day - St. Giles

St. Giles was born to a wealthy family in Aegidus, Greece in the 6th century. When his parents passed away Giles distributed his wealth amongst the poor. This action brought him to the attention of many people who desired to follow him. Having no desire for followers, Giles moved to France in 683 to seek the quiet life of a hermit.

Giles settled in a cave in the diocese of Nives, France, where he lived in peace for some time. Giles life was one of extreme poverty so that, legend has it, God sent a hind (female deer) to provide milk for Giles. One day a royal hunting party chased the hind into Giles cave and shot at it, missing and, instead, hitting Giles in the leg. The king sent physicians to care for Giles and became himself a frequent visitor of the hermit, despite Giles protestations.

The king's admiration of Giles caused his fame to spread throughout France. The king built for Giles and his new followers a monastery on the spot of his cave. After Giles death the monastery was deemed the monastery of Saint Gilles du Gard. During his life, Giles served as abbot of the monastery for which he wrote his own rule.

St. Giles died of natural causes in the monastery sometime between 710 and 724. He is the patron saint: against breast cancer; against epilepsy; against fear of night; against insanity; against leprosy; against mental illness; against noctiphobia; against sterility; of beggars; of blacksmiths; of breast feeding; of cancer patients; of cripples; of disabled people; of Edinburgh, Scotland; of epileptics; of forests; of handicapped people; of hermits; of horses; of lepers; of mentally ill people; of noctiphobics; of physically challenged people; of paupers; of poor people; of rams; of spur makers; of Tolfa, Italy; and of woods.

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