ST. CALAIS, IN LATIN CARILEPHUS FIRST ABBOT OF
ANILLE IN MAINE
HE was born in Auvergne, of a family equally
virtuous and noble. He was yet a child when they sent him to the
monastery of Menat in the diocess of Clermont, in order to be early
principled in knowledge and piety. Here he became a religious, and
practised all the prescriptions of the rule with the greatest fervor.
After some time he quitted the monastery with St. Avi, and they both
retired to the abbey of Micy near Orleans. The bishop of this city
having destined them for holy orders, they withdrew themselves from
the abbey, and advancing together as far as Perche, led by their
fervor to the austerities of an eremitical life, they separated. St.
Calais was followed by two persons, who by no means would consent to
quit him, and with these he went to Maine, where he perfectly revived
the rigorous discipline of the ancient eastern hermits. But as he was
constantly visited by numbers who sought to live under his direction,
he at length consented to receive them. King Childebert gave him land
whereon to build a monastery, which was first called Anisole or
Anille, from the river on which it was situated,* but it is now, as
well as the little town built round it, called after the saint. The
life of the holy founder was not only extraordinary for penance and
prayer, but he excelled in the exact observance of his rules;
insomuch that he constantly refused the visit of queen Ultrogotha
wife of Childebert, because one of the statutes forbade to enter the
monastery. He died in 542, and his name is mentioned this day in the
Roman Martyrology. A portion of his relics is kept in the abbey of
St. Calais, but the greatest part is in the chapel of the castle of
Blois, which also bears his name. See the life of St. Calais, written
by Siviard, fifth abbot of Anille, with the notes of Mabillon, and
the Bollandist, t.1. Jul. p. 85. and Martenne Ampl. Coll. t.1. præf.
p. 4, &c.