The collect for an Abbot, on the Feast of St. Giles of Provence (d. c. 710), Hermit, Abbot (source):
O God, by whose grace the blessed Abbot Giles, enkindled with the fire of thy love, became a burning and a shining light in thy Church: Grant that we may be inflamed with the same spirit of discipline and love, and ever walk before thee as children of light; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
All that is known for certain about this saint is that he was born in the early 7th century and that he founded a monastery in what is now the town of Saint-Gilles, southern France, on land given to him by Flavius Wamba, King of the Visogoths.
Giles, accompanied by a hind, had come to live in a hermitage near Arles. During a hunt, King Wamba fired an arrow at the hind, but struck and crippled Giles instead. The king then gave the humble saint land to found an abbey.
A tenth-century Legend attributed important miracles to Saint Giles, which helped make him one of the most popular saints of the Middle Ages. Hundreds of churches and monasteries across Europe are dedicated to him. As well, because he is the patron saint of cripples, lepers, and nursing mothers, many hospitals were built in his name. Saint Giles is also the patron saint of Edinburgh, where his memory is honoured by the Church of Scotland High Kirk: St. Giles’ Cathedral.
The monastery founded by St. Giles became a renowned stopping place in medieval times for pilgrims journeying to Compostela, Rome, or the Holy Land.
Artwork: Saint Giles, St. Giles’ Church, Bruges. Photograph taken by admin, 10 October 2014.