St. Giles, patron of the poor and disabled
The saint of the day for September 1 is St. Giles (650-710), abbot, hermit, and patron of the poor and disabled. One of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, Saint Giles is invoked for protection in times of plague and epidemic.
Giles was born to a wealthy Greek family during the 6th century. When his parents died, he gave away all of his wealth to the poor and the sick and attracted many followers who wished to emulate his piety.
Giles moved to France, where he lived alone in a cave near Nimes, and spent his days in prayer, meditation, and conversation with the Lord. The cave he made his home in was guarded by a thick thorn bush. In this solitude, he lived on wild herbs and roots, and water. A hind (deer) came daily to be milked by him, thus providing him with additional sustenance.
The fame of his miracles became so great that his reputation spread throughout France. He was highly esteemed by the French king, but he could not be prevailed upon to forsake his solitude. He admitted several disciples, however, to share it with him. He founded a monastery, and established an excellent discipline therein. In succeeding ages it embraced the rule of St. Benedict.
He died of natural causes and the Benedictine abbey of Saint-Gilles was founded during the 7th century in his honor.