Blessed Giles of Assisi was a farmer and early follower of St. Francis whom we have adopted as the patron of Little Portion Farm. He embodies a unique combination of care for the poor and care for the land—both of which are rooted in a deep love of God—which we strive to emulate on the farm.
As a young man, Giles spent most of his time looking after oxen, tending fields of grain, and working in the vineyard. By the time he had turned 18, however, Giles had grown disenchanted with a culture obsessed with wealth. “Profit, profit, everything for profit,” was a common rustic proverb of the time that guided farmers and merchants alike. When he learned of a man named Francis who was serving and living amongst the poor, Giles became one of his most ardent companions.
From that point on, Giles was dedicated to serving the most vulnerable, sometimes using his agricultural experience to do so. After grain had been harvested in the summer, Giles would walk the fields to glean what was leftover by the reapers, and then gave away almost all that he gathered to the poor. He is known to have said: “Happiness is to do bodily labor for the love of the Most High and not to take any lesser wages than Paradise for the good work one does.”
His feast day is April 23rd, which is both the date he first joined the small group of St. Francis followers in 1209, and the day he entered into eternal life in 1262.
Blessed Giles, pray for us!