Begging for cloth
Blessed Giles of Assisi was a wealthy man who fell on his knees beforeSt Francis and begged to be accepted into his company in 1209.
St Francis turned to his other two followers and said: “See here a good brother whom Almighty God has sent to us.”
Giles dedicated his fortune to the poor and went begging in Assisi for a bit of cloth for a habit.
Giles became known for his deep humility. He also possessed a great desire to visit holy places, which St Francis allowed. Giles visited Compostela and Jerusalem.
He earned his keep mainly through manual work and gave whatever he had left over to the poor. Once a woman who lacked proper clothing asked Blessed Giles for money. As he had nothing to offer her, he took off his hood and gave it to her.
Saying sorry to the Pope
In the year 1219, St Francis asked Giles to go to Africa with several companions to preach the Gospel to Muslims. But as soon as they landed in Africa, the Christians – frightened about forthcoming persecution – led them by force to another ship to take them back to Italy. Giles then settled in a quiet convent in Perugia.
Pope Gregory IX learned about Giles and summoned him to Rome (pictured left). When the pope began to speak to him about heavenly matters, Giles fell into an ecstasy.
When he came around, he apologised profusely to the pope, who then asked him for advice on how to execute his burdensome papal duties. Giles was reluctant to offer advice, but when commanded to, he said: “Holy Father, you must have two eyes in your soul. The right eye must be kept on heavenly things; the left one, on the things of this earth, which you must regulate.”
Giles died on April 22, 1262, the anniversary of his entrance into the Franciscan order.
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