Thursday, August 18, 2016

Saint Giles by Santiago de Compostela by Patrick McCaskey



Living in southern France along a Camino route was Saint Giles. According to Butler’s Lives of the Saints, St. Giles was one of the more popular holy figures of the Middle Ages.[i] He lived from the mid-seventh to early eighth century.[ii]  


Saint Giles was a hermit saint. His reputation for piety made his recluse lifestyle impossible when followers joined him. He became an abbot. He lived on a Spartan diet and deer’s milk, an animal with which the saint is often pictured. 


Saint Giles was struck in the knee by an arrow shot by Wamba, a Visigoth King, who was aiming at a deer who had befriended the Saint. Giles accepted his wound as an exercise in humility and suffering. He suffered from it for the remainder of his life. 


King Wamba admired Giles. He gave Giles land for a monastery that became the Abbey of Saint-Gilles-du-Gard.  The abbey is on one of the official routes of the pilgrimage to St. James. The city of Saint-Gilles-du-Gard is a World Heritage Site of the Routes of Santiago de Compostela. 

According to AmericanCatholic.org (Franciscan Media), in Germany, Giles was among the so-called 14 Holy Helpers, a popular group of saints to whom people prayed, especially for recovery from disease and for strength at the hour of death. Devotion to the "Holy Helpers" was especially strong in parts of Germany and in Hungary and Sweden. Such devotion made his popularity spread.


Known for his piety and fortitude, Saint Giles is the Patron Saint of the handicapped, lepers, and nursing mothers. Like many saints, much of what was written about Saint Giles was done hundreds of years after his death and the facts are mixed with legend. Saint Giles feast day is September 1st.


[i] The Middle Ages or medieval period roughly lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. Some historians use the term Dark Ages to denote the earlier Middle Ages from the 5th to 10th century, but it’s use has declined recently.
[ii] Butler’s Lives of the Saints can be found in many different editions and readers have been educated and entertained on the book for many generations. It was written in the mid-1700s. Irish writer Frank McCourt writes in Angela’s Ashes on a visit to the library on a rainy day, “I don’t want to spend my life reading about saints but when I start (Butler) I wish the rain would last forever.”

Copyright 2016, Sporting Chance Press


Sporting Chance Press publishes the Sports and Faith Series of books that centers on Christian Athletes that lead exemplary lives. The Second book in the series is Sports and Faith:More Stories of the Devoted and the Devout published in 2015. Our Next Sports and Faith book is tentatively titled, Pilgrimage.  Look for more information here to follow.


About Sporting Chance Press:

Our goal at Sporting Chance Press is to provide entertaining books that can give readers a lift in sports and in life. We publish books that give readers insight into the hero within each of us. When sport is at its best, there is a payoff constantly taking shape – a payoff "at work." We are improving—whether it is building self esteem, improving health, developing strong social skills, or learning the habit of achievement. There is a discipline needed in preparing for sports contests and life contests. Getting our bodies and minds in shape for the competition is critical. If we can approach sports training and life with enthusiasm, the contest is pure joy. If we can approach sport and life with passion and not pressure, we can achieve and release that fearless hero within. 
Lawrence Norris