Butler’s Lives of the Saints – Saint Agilus, or Aile, Abbot

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He was son of Agnoald, one of the principal lords at the court of Childebert II, king of Austrasia and Burgundy. The examples of virtue, which he found in his family, inspired him early with the fear of God. His parents, by the advice of Saint Columban, consecrated him to religion in the monastery of Luxeu, where he studied knowledge, and the maxims of perfection, under the holy abbot Saint Eustasius; and was no sooner of age to practise the rule than he distinguished himself by his fervour, his humility, and the austerity of his penance. Agil’s father dying, Saint Columban, now without a protector at court, lay open to a violent persecution from Queen Brunehault, enraged against the saint for refusing women an entrance into his monastery. The persecution extended also to his disciples, who were commanded to quit their retreats. Saint Agil on this occasion solicited an audience of King Thierri. He was graciously received; at his suit a stop was put to the ill effects of Brunehault’s animosity; and the statute of Saint Columban’s rule regarding women was confirmed. Some years after, the bishops sent to Saint Agil and Saint Eustatius to preach the gospel to infidels who lived on the further side of Mount-jura. The two apostolical men penetrated into Bavaria; and their mission was attended with the happiest success. At their return, Saint Agil resumed his penitential exercises with the usual exactness; but was soon taken out of his retreat to govern the monastery of Rebais, which Saint Owen, chancellor of France, had founded in the diocess of Meaux. He was appointed first abbot of it at a meeting of bishops in Clichy, in 636. The saint caused the strictest regularity to be observed at Rebais, till he died, about the year 650, in the sixty-sixth year of his age. He is mentioned in the Benedictin Martyrology. See his life by an anonymous writer, published by Mabillon, Act. Saints Ben., t. 2, and by Chifflet, Histoire de l’Abbaye de Tournus; Bulteau, Hist. de l’Ordre de Saint Benoit, l. 3, c. 14, and Baillet on the 30th of August.

MLA Citation

  • Father Alban Butler. “Saint Agilus, or Aile, Abbot”. Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Principal Saints, 1866. CatholicSaints.Info. 19 August 2014. Web. 20 November 2018. <>