Helier was born at Tongres in Belgium, and was the son of the Saxon
Governor of that place. A pagan, he became a Christian, and after
his conversion made his way to the Abbey of Nanteuil in France where,
under St. Marculf, he studied the Celtic language.
as a Hermit
545 A.D. he was sent to Jersey as a missionary. Whilst here, he
chose to live on a rock surrounded by the sea - 'l'Islet', the rock
on which Elizabeth Castle now stands. He lived in a cave, with part
of the rock forming his bed.
For fifteen years he worked on the island, and soon converted many
of the Jersey people to Christianity.
560 A.D. Jersey was visited by a band of pirates. When they landed,
St. Helier began to preach to them, urging them to abandon their
life of pillage and murder.
pirate chief, fearing that St. Helier would induce his followers
to give up their life of piracy, raised his axe and struck the saint
on the head, killing him.
The pirates were terrified by this, and although the weather was
stormy, they set sail. But when they passed Noirmont their ship
struck a rock and they all perished.
Oratory was built over St. Helier's cell in the twelfth century,
which still exists today.
commemorate St. Helier's life and death, an annual pilgrimage is
held on July 16, from the Parish Church of St. Helier out to the
The Connétable and the Dean and other church leaders are
the first to enter the Hermitage, and the Connétable lays
a wreath on behalf of the parish.
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