St. Giles, Abbot

by Edward O'Shaughnessy
St. Giles was born in Athens, but is only honoured by England and France. He was full of piety and learning. This drew the admiration of the world so much, that it was impossible for the saint to enjoy his own country; obscurity and retirement was the chief object of his desires. He dreaded the thought of being popular, because that would make him full of himself. Giles therefore left his own country and sailed to France and became a hermit first in deserts near the Rhone, then near the river Gard and finally, in a forest in which was the diocese of Nismes. There passed many years with St. Giles in complete solitude, though he wrought many miracles which made him famous throughout France.

It was found out later that St. Giles had been confused with another Giles, whom St. Caesarius had made an abbot of a monastery near the wall of Arles, and was sent to Rome to ask the Pope to obtain many privileges for the monastery. St. Giles was still famous anyway. The French king more than once asked him to come and live near the king, but nothing could make Giles forsake his solitude. He however admitted several disciples and founded a monastery which became a flourishing abbey of the Benedictine order. It is not known when he died, but his feast day is September 1st.

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