Eligius was tasked to shod the hoof of a horse. But the horse was reluctant. A mystique, he thought that the horse is possessed by a demon. He cut the leg while the horse remained standing on three legs. After he has reshod the amputated leg, he made the sign of the cross and connected it without difficulty.
This legend is depicted in Stapton Church in Northamptonshire, England. A painting of his feat is also depicted in Petit Palais in Avignon, France.
Eligius, sometimes called Eloi, was born in 590, in a villa of Chaptelat, 6 miles North of Limoges City in Aquitaine, Central France. His parents belonged to the educated and influential Galo-Roman family.
His father saw the unusual talent of Eligius in crafts so he was sent to Abbo, a goldsmith master of Mint in Limoges to develop his skill. He was later sent to Nuestra, a kingdom in France to work with Babo, the royal treasurer.
King Clotaire II of Paris commissioned him to make a golden throne with precious stones.
Although a lay person, he was known for his holiness. He followed the Irish rules for monks introduced by Saint Columban.
With his earnings and the alms he had solicited, he ransomed Saxons, Britons and Moors arriving in the ports of Marseilles. He also helped the sick, poor and the hungry.
Audoenus, known as Dado Bishop who became Saint Ouen of Rouen, exalted Eligius for his honesty. He narrated that Eligius was able to make two thrones out of the materials given him by King Clotaire. He did not mix siliquae with the materials nor claimed the fragments left, which was a normal practice then. So honest was Eloi with “no sense of corruption,” he often said.
After the death in 639 of Dagobert I, a king in France where he served as chief counsellor, Eligius, then 59, entered priesthood.
A year after, he was elected bishop of Noyon and Tournai in Belgium. His diocese was comprised of pagans. For 20 years he diligently evangelized and converted pagans, eradicating the superstitious beliefs and practices of his constituents.
He also built many churches, a monastery and a major convent in Paris.
Loved greatly by the people, he is considered as the most popular saint in Flanders and France. He is the patron saint of those who work with metals especially goldsmiths and blacksmiths. He is also patronized by jockeys and people whose profession involve horses.
As he predicted, he died on December 1, 660.
Santiago is a former regional director of the Department of Education National Capital Region. She is currently a faculty member of Mater Redemptoris Collegium in Calauan, Laguna, and of Mater Redemptoris College in San Jose City, Nueva Ecija.