Feast Day: January 29
Born:516 :: Died:570
St. Gildas was born at Scotland in Britain and came from a family of English nobility. As a child, he was placed under the care of a nearby monastery where he was trained by Saint Illtyd.
When he grew up, he moved to Ireland to study and give his life over to God by leading a life of sacrifice and penance. Gildas was serious about his Christian commitment and did whatever he could to get closer to God. He felt it was his responsibility to pray and sacrifice for the sins committed by the people of his times.
He wrote sermons trying to convince people to give up wickedness. He encouraged them to stop their lives of shame. Because Gildas cared so much, he was very strict in his writings. Actually, he didn't mean to find fault with anyone. He was only begging people to turn to God.
After a pilgrimage to Rome Gildas became a hermit, living on the tiny island of Rhuys. He didn't choose a quiet, prayerful life because he wanted to stay away from the world around him. He chose his life to help him grow closer to God.
He was more aware than most people that some things were very wrong in society. Sadly, many people did not know enough of God and his law. They did not even realize the evils that were destroying them.
Gildas attracted many followers and his hermitage became a monastery. People in the Church - priests, bishops and laymen and women also went to Gildas for advice about deeply spiritual matters. His many writings were aimed at monks, encouraging them to holiness.
Toward the end of his life, Gildas lived his hermit's life on a tiny island in Houat, Brittany. Even though he wanted to be alone to prepare his soul for death, disciples followed him there. He welcomed them as a sign that the Lord wanted him to share his spiritual gifts with others.
Gildas was like the "conscience" of society. Sometimes we don't like to hear about sin, but sin is real. Sometimes we, too, are tempted to do wrong or are neglectful. Then we can say a little prayer to St. Gildas. We can ask him to obtain for us the will power to do the right thing.
E-mail this page to a friend