July 1 – Born to Gallic nobility, he renounced all to embrace religious poverty

June 30, 2011

Saint Gal (Gall) of Clermont 

Saint Gal of Clermont was the uncle and teacher of Saint Gregory of Tours, shown here conferring with King Chilpéric

Saint Gal was born at Clermont in Auvergne, about the year 489. His father was of the first houses of that province, and his mother was descended from the family of Vettius Apagatus, the celebrated Roman who suffered at Lyons for the faith of Christ. They both took special care of the education of their son, and, when he arrived at a proper age, proposed to have him married to the daughter of a respectable senator. The Saint, who had taken a resolution to consecrate himself to God, withdrew privately from his father’s house to the monastery of Cournon, near the city of Auvergne, and earnestly prayed to be admitted there amongst the monks; and having soon after obtained the consent of his parents, he with joy renounced all worldly vanities to embrace religious poverty. Here his eminent virtues distinguished him in a particular manner, and recommended him to Quintianus, Bishop of Auvergne, who promoted him to holy orders.

Theuderic I, the king of Austrasia, invaded Auvergne and took Gal prisoner. He was afterwards attached to the oratory in the palace of the king. Gal regained liberty after a few years, and returned to Clermont.

The bishop dying in 527, St. Gal was appointed to succeed him, and in this new character his humility, charity, and zeal were conspicuous; above all, his patience in bearing injuries. Being once struck on the head by a brutal man, he discovered not the least emotion of anger or resentment, and by this meekness disarmed the savage of his rage.

At another time, Evodius, who from a senator became a priest, having so far forgotten himself as to treat him in the most insulting manner, the Saint, without making the least reply, arose meekly from his seat and went to visit the churches of the city. Evodius was so touched by this conduct that he cast himself at the Saint’s feet, in the middle of the street, and asked his pardon. From this time they both lived on terms of the most cordial friendship. St. Gal was favored with the gift of miracles, and died about the year 553.

(from The Lives of the Saints, by Rev. Alban Butler, Volume VII, 1866)

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