Saint of the Day – 13 October – St Gerald of Aurillac (855-909) Consecrated Celibate Noble Layman (855 in Aurillac, France – 909 at Cenezac, France). He was buried in his abbey in Aurillac, France. Patronages – bachelors, counts, disabled, handicapped of physically challenged people, Aurillac, France, Upper Auvergne, France.
Gerald was born into the Gallo-Roman nobility, counting Cesarius of Arles among his forebears, though the title “Count of Aurillac” was not held by his father, to whose estates he succeeded and was assumed by him in later life. The details of his life known today come primarily from The Life of St Gerald of Aurillac (c. 930–931) written by St Odo of Cluny (images below) – you can download St Odo’s Life of St Gerald here http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/books/Sitwell–OdoofCluny.pdf
According to Odo, Gerald suffered an illness as a child, sufficient in duration to advance his reading and may have been disfigured by acne. In later life he was to suffer blindness. He seriously considered joining a religious order but was persuaded against it by his friend Geusbert, Bishop of Rodez, on the grounds that with his social position he could do more good by remaining in the world as a layman. Nevertheless, secretly tonsured under his habitual cap, he consecrated his life in service to God, gave away his possessions, took a personal vow of chastity and prayed the breviary each day.
He founded a church and abbey on his estate of Aurillac, where he was buried after dying at Cenezac, on a 13 Friday October, probably in 909. The validation of his local cult by Odo of Cluny served to establish his wider veneration. Saint Gerald, considered by his Church and his followers as a great example of a celibate Christian aristocrat, is the patron saint of counts and bachelors. Because of his poor health and blindness, more emphasized in his developing cult than in Odo’s Life, he is also the patron saint of the disabled, handicappedand physically challenged.