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February 7

St Giles Mary of Saint Joseph - February 7

Saint Giles Mary of Saint Joseph
Lay Brother
“Saint of the Little Way”
(1729 – 1812)

“Love God, love God.”

Saint Giles Mary of Saint Joseph’s motto

His Early Life

Francesco was born in Taranto, Apulia, Italy on November 16, 1729 to Cataldo Postillo and Grazia Procaccio. He was born into a poor but pious family common to this small village in southern Italy. Francesco was the oldest of three other siblings. He was baptized as Francesco Domenico Antonio Pasquale Pontillo. However, he never went to school, because he had to work to help support the family.

Rope Maker

In 1747, his father died. So, Francesco took up the trade of rope maker to support his widowed mother and siblings. Every morning on his way to work he would stop at the church to attend holy Mass, and on returning home in the evening, he again stopped there to perform some special devotion.

Lay Brother

As a young man his heart experienced the whisper of Christ’s special call of predilection, Francesco began contemplating a life dedicated wholly to serving his Divine Master. In February 1754 at age 25, drawn to a religious life, Francesco applied to the Discalced Friars Minor of Saint Peter of Alcantara at Naples, Italy. Since he lacked the education, Francesco could not become a priest and was received as a lay brother.

“Egidio Maria of Saint Joseph”

A year later in 1755, Francesco solemnly professed his vows at the convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Galatone. Francesco assumed the religious name of “Egidio of the Mother of God”. But later, he altered this instead to “Egidio Maria of Saint Joseph” or Giles Mary of Saint Joseph.

Porter, Gatekeeper, and Cook

At his convent, Giles Mary of Saint Joseph served as a porter and gatekeeper and worked as a cook at the convent in Squinzano. These positions put him in constant contact with those in need. He had a special ministry to the sick, and worked with lepers, traveling outside the city to help those who had become shunned and isolated. Often, Giles carried an icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary in a depiction known as Our Lady of the Well when he made sick calls.

Beggar

Many times, Giles traveled outside the confines of his convent, serving his community as quaestor (begging for alms) for the poor. On his difficult daily round of begging alms, Giles would talk to everyone he came into contact with, taking a sincere interest in their problems. He would encourage and guide them, spreading his own love for Christ and Christian values into their hearts. Nobles and peasants alike began coming to him for advice.

The poor flocked to his convent, where they knew that the holy porter, Giles, would offer assistance (often his meager supplies were miraculously augmented through the intercession of St Joseph, so that no poor person who came to him had to go away empty-handed). Miracles were attributed to him, and he became known as “The Consoler of Naples” and the “Saint of the Little Way” – no mean title for an illiterate peasant boy who wandered, begging, through the streets of one of Europe’s most cosmopolitan centers.

Beggar

Giles himself suffered from sciatica, which caused severe leg pain, difficulty walking and led to the use of a cane which is often seen in depictions of him. He also suffered from asthma and, late in life, dropsy (fluid retention leading to high blood pressure). 

His Death

Giles Mary of St Joseph ended a life of humble service to his Franciscan community and to the citizens of Naples on February 7, 1812 in Naples, Italy. His remains are housed at San Pasquale convent’s adjacent church in Chiaia near Naples. Taranto, Italy, has chosen Saint Giles Mary of Saint Joseph as its patron, a title officially bestowed by Archbishop Orazio Mazzella on June 29, 1919. To this day, he is venerated for his dedicated service, compassion, and intercession in Taranto.

Born :                   November 16, 1729 in Taranto, Apulia, Italy

Died:                    February 7, 1812 age 82 in Naples, Italy

Beatified:            February 5, 1888 by Pope Leo XIII

Canonized:         June 2, 1996 by Pope John Paul II

Feast Day:          February 7

Patron Saint:     Outcasts; People Looking for Work; Sick People; Taranto, Italy

Source:

Reflection 

Throughout his life, Saint Giles Mary of Saint Joseph exemplified the virtues of humility, charity, and obedience. He embraced the menial tasks, such as porter, gatekeeper, cook and beggar, assigned to him with joy and devotion. He saw them as opportunities to serve God and others. His unwavering faith and commitment to his vocation earned him the admiration of his fellow friars and the local community and the nickname “Consoler of Naples” and the “Saint of the Little Way”.

Today, I am sure that you have some menial tasks – we all do. Try today to live Saint Giles Mary of Saint Joseph’s motto “Love God, love God” and offer up these menial tasks as a way of spreading Christ’s love into the hearts of all you encounter.

Prayers

Saint Giles Mary of Saint Joseph,

You who lived a life of humble service and unwavering faith, intercede for us before the throne of God.

Teach us the beauty of simplicity and help us to embrace each task with joy and devotion, seeing in them opportunities to glorify God.

You who faced trials with unwavering trust in God’s providence, pray for us in our times of need, and help us to remain steadfast in our faith.

May your example of humility and dedication inspire us, and lead us closer to our Lord Jesus Christ.

Saint Giles Mary of Saint Joseph, pray for us. Amen.

Saint Links 

All Saints & Martyrs – Saint Giles Mary-of-Saint-Joseph

AnaStpaul – Saint of the Day – 7 February – St Giles Mary of St Joseph OFM (1729-1812)

Catholic Concepts – St. Giles Mary of St. Joseph

Catholic Exchange – St. Egidio Maria (St. Giles Mary)

Catholic Online – St. Giles Mary of Saint Joseph

CatholicSaints.Info – Saints of the Day – Giles Mary of Saint Joseph, O.F.M. – by Katherine I Rabenstein

Roman Catholic Saints – Giles Mary of Saint Joseph

Saint for a Minute – Saint Giles Mary of Saint Joseph

Vermont Catholic – St. Giles Mary of St. Joseph

Video Link

Cradio Saint of the Day: Saint Giles Mary of Saint Joseph – YouTube (CatholicSaints.Info)