Franciscan Saints





16thJanuary

St. Berard and Companions

First Franciscan Martyrs

Born of pious parents at Lorenzana in Italy, Blessed Giles of Lorenzana received the name of Bernardine in baptism. Even as a youth he received the gift of devotion in so eminent a degree that at prayer his countenance glowed with fervor, and he was often seen raised a foot or more from the floor. This attracted general attention, and people came from the surrounding places in order to see Blessed Giles at prayer.

The devout young man, however, desired nothing more than to serve God in seclusion. In order, therefore, to withdraw from the attention of the world, and also to progress in Christian perfection, he asked for admission as a lay brother at the convent of the Friars Minor. This request was granted. He was given the name Giles after the saintly Brother Giles, one of the first companions of St Francis.

Burning with love for God, Giles knew no greater joy in the order than to devote himself to the contemplation of heavenly things, and since his superiors were convinced that he was doing great things for the honor of God and the salvation of souls, they permitted him to live in a hermitage close to the convent. Here he lived only for God, to whom he sacrificed his body by severe fasting, and his soul by constant prayer. He overcame the attacks of hell, which he had frequently to endure, without ever yielding for an instant. When he had finished his course, God called him to the eternal union on January 10, 1518.

The convent bells rang by themselves when Blessed Giles of Lorenzana died, and a very great concourse of people flocked to venerate him. Many miracles occurred at his grave. Several years after his death his body was found still incorrupt, although he had been buried in a very damp place. The veneration which had been accorded to him since time immemorial was approved by Pope Leo XIII, for the entire Order of Friars Minor, and on January twenty-eighth by the Capuchins.

 

Prayer of the church

O God, who didst vouchsafe to Blessed Giles, Thy confessor the gift of heavenly love,

grant us through his merits and intercession that we may love Christ while here on earth,

and may reign with Him in heaven who liveth and reigneth
with Thee and
the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen

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

 

 

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