Born in Athens, St. Giles lived in southern France during the eighth century; he was a hermit and an abbot. He fled Athens for Marseilles to avoid the honors his countrymen wished to pay him and fixed his hermitage in a desert spot near the mouth of the Rhone River.
He lived on wild roots, herbs and the milk of a deer, which he had befriended as it was being hunted down by the King’s hunters. One day, he was accidentally shot in the knee by an arrow that was meant for the deer. So that he might better mortify the flesh, St. Giles refused to have the knee treated and he remained disabled for life. The King greatly esteemed the holy hermit and gave him land on which to build a monastery which became the large and flourishing Abbey of Saint-Gilles-du-Gard.
St. Giles is usually represented as an old man with an arrow in his knee and accompanied by a deer. Because of his lameness, Saint Giles has become the “Patron Saint of the Handicapped.”
St. Giles’ cult spread rapidly far and wide during the Middle Ages, as is witnessed by the countless churches and monasteries dedicated to him throughout Europe. His feast day is September 1st.
To learn more about Our Patron Saint Giles see:
- Online Encyclopedia: Wikipedia – Website
- Catholic Online – Saint Giles – Website
- New Catholic Dictionary – Saint Giles / CatholicSaints.Info – Website
SAINT GILES BLESSING
Through the intercession of St. Giles,
May our parish be a living witness of both prayer and compassion.
May we grow in respect for all of God’s creation,
Especially the poor, the sick, the marginalized,
And those who have no voice.
And may we who bear the name of St. Giles,
Also carry his gentle, healing and prayer-filled spirit to all of those in need.
We ask this through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.