Feast Day: February 07
Born:1729 :: Died:1812
Francis Pontillo was born near Taranto, Italy, to a pious family and raised in the village there. As a child he learned rope-making and was good at his trade.
When he was twenty-five, Francis became aware of a call from the Lord to give his life to God. He wanted very much to become a priest but because he did not have enough education to become one, he entered the Friars of St. Peter Alcantara in Naples as a lay brother.
His complete name as a religious was Brother Giles Mary-of-St.-Joseph. The two virtues that guided his whole religious life were simplicity and humility.
Brother Giles Mary approached each day with an attitude of wanting to serve God. He was grateful for his calling and it showed. Brother Giles walked up and down the halls of the monastery's seminary, as he was the porter and gate-keeper. He opened the door promptly and with a smile every time a visitor pulled the rope that rang the bell.
He took gentle care of the poor, the homeless, the ill who came to that door. He had a special ministry to the sick. He worked with lepers, traveling outside the city to help those who had to live alone because of their disease.
He was given the duty of distributing the food and money that his community could spare. Brother Giles Mary loved to do that. No matter how much he gave to needy people, so much remained for others.
He knew it was St. Joseph who did this. After all, St. Joseph had once taken such good care of Jesus and Mary. Brother Giles Mary spread devotion to St. Joseph throughout his whole religious life.
After a life of faithfulness to God and his chosen vocation, Brother Giles Mary-of-St.-Joseph died peacefully while he was praying on February 7, 1812.
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