Saint Guy of Anderlecht was born into a poor country family near Brussels around the year 950 A.D. His parents were farmers and were unable to provide Guy with even an elementary education. However, they did all they could, by both teaching and by example, to give him a strong spiritual grounding.
When he was not working, Guy devoted most of his time to prayer. Once, while he was praying in a church in Laeken, he was noticed by the parish priest. The priest, impressed by Guy’s devotion, allowed him to work as his sacristan. Guy joyfully cleaned the church, tended to the altar vessels, and continued to live in abject poverty.
Although he never entered a religious community or joined a third order, it is thought that he privately took a vow of chastity. In religious artwork, Saint Guy of Anderlecht is usually shown holding an office book which suggests that he may have regularly prayed the Liturgy of the Hours.
According to tradition, a conman from Brussels talked Guy into investing in an overseas trading enterprise. When the ship sank and Guy lost what little he had, he took it as a punishment because he had committed the sin of avarice.
Guy went on a pilgrimage of penance to Rome and then to Jerusalem. Supposedly, he walked most of the way. Guy remained in Jerusalem for some time and helped other pilgrims. On his way back home, Saint Guy of Anderlecht died of exhaustion on September 12. The year of his death is generally thought to be 1012 but it may have been as late as 1033.
Although Guy was buried with honor in Anderlecht, he and his grave were forgotten for quite a while. Supposedly, his grave was uncovered by a horse around the year 1070. The owner of the horse knew Guy’s story and he asked two boys to clear the land and build a hedge so the grave could be seen more easily. When the boys laughed at the man’s instructions, they developed horrible stomach pains and died in agony.
A church was built in 1076 to house Guy’s relics. During the 18th century, the saint’s remains were stolen by Protestants.
Saint Guy of Anderlecht is the patron saint of sacristans and horses. His feast day is September 12. He is also known as the “Poor Man of Anderlecht”.
Source: Butler’s Lives of the Saints