Franciscan Saints

8th February

Blessed Giles Mary of St. Joseph

 Also known as

·         Aegidius Mary of Saint Joseph Pontillo

·         Egidio Maria de Saint Giuseppe

·         Francis Pontillo

·         Saint of the Little Way

 Confessor, First Order

Blessed Giles Mary's feast is observed by the Franciscans on February 7th.

Francis Pontillo was born on November 16 1729 near Taranto, Apulia Italy; to a poor but pious family and at the appropriate age he was apprenticed to a Rope Maker and became a good tradesman.

At the age of twenty-five, Francis became aware of his vocation to the religious life and entered the Discalced Friars Minor of Saint Peter of Alcantara in Naples; at his investiture he received the name Br. Giles Mary of St. Joseph. Frances had wanted to be a priest but lacking the education he was received there as a lay brother.

Even during the novitiate he distinguished himself by his sanctity and once having made his final vows his religious zeal knew no bounds; throughout his whole Religious life the two virtues that guided him; were simplicity and humility.

Brother Giles Mary tried to approach each day with an attitude of wanting to serve God. He was thankful for his calling and it showed. Brother Giles walked up and down the halls where he lived. He was the porter. He opened the door promptly and with a smile whenever a visitor pulled the rope that rang the bell. He took gentle care of the poor, the homeless, and the ill that came to that door. He was given the responsibility of distributing all the food and alms that his community could spare. Having an especial faith in his patron, St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus, Br Giles Mary knew that no matter how much he gave to needy people, much more remained for others.


After a life of faithfulness to God and his chosen vocation, Brother Giles Mary-of-St.-Joseph died of natural causes while at prayer on February 7, 1812. Pope Leo XIII beatified him on February 5th 1888. The Venerable Servant of God Pope John Paul II canonized Blessed Giles Mary of Saint Joseph in 1996. At that time he told the Church that Brother Giles Mary represented "the humility of the Incarnation and the gratuitousness of the Eucharist." (L'Osservatore Romano 1996, volume 23, number 1) (American Catholic)



 “People often become arrogant and power hungry when they try to live a lie, for example, when they forget their own sinfulness and ignore the gifts God has given to other people. Giles had a healthy sense of his own sinfulness—not paralysing but not superficial either. He invited men and women to recognize their own gifts and to live out their dignity as people made in God’s divine image. Knowing someone like Giles can help us on our own spiritual journey.” 2


Prayer of the church

We beseech Thee, O Lord, that we might find help in the merits

of the spouse of thy most holy Mother, so that what we cannot

obtain of ourselves may be given to us through his intercession.

Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the

Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.



Readings and referrences

1. February 7: Blessed Giles Mary, (C) 2004-2012, Holy Spirit Interactive.Old web, modified 3 January  2013, accessed 3 January 2013, <>

2. Foley, Leonard , O.F.M. ,author, McCloskey, Pat, O.F.M. ,ed.,(date unknown) Saint of the Day: Lives, Lessons and Feast , St Anthony’s Messenger Press at American Catholic,(C)1996-2012,Franciscan Media, Accessed 3 January 2013,<>

3. Habig, Marion A., O.F.M., 1959, ed., The Franciscan book of Saints, Franciscan Herald press, Chicago, Illinois


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Last edited 13/09/2017 06:24 
Created January 2013 (C) EFO 2013
 Web Administrator Wayne Benge