Author Topic: St. William  (Read 999 times)

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Offline Matthew

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St. William
« on: January 10, 2008, 01:20:28 PM »
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  • January 10th - Saint William, Archbishop of Bourges
    (d. 1209)

    William Berruyer, of the illustrious family of the ancient Counts of Nevers,
    was educated by Peter the Hermit, Archdeacon of Soissons, his maternal
    uncle. From his early childhood Saint William learned to despise the folly
    and emptiness of the world, to abhor its pleasures, and to tremble at its
    dangers. His only delight was in exercises of piety and his studies, with
    which he employed his whole time in an untiring application.

    Saint William was made a canon, an ecclesiastic attached to a cathedral
    church, first at Soissons and afterwards in Paris; but he soon resolved to
    abandon the world and retired into the solitude of Grandmont, where he lived
    with great regularity in that austere Order. Finally he joined the
    Cistercians, flourishing with sanctity at the time, and later was chosen to
    be Prior of the Abbey of Pontigny, then made Abbot of Challis.

    On the death of Henri de Sully, Archbishop of Bourges, William was chosen to
    succeed him. The announcement of this new dignity which had fallen on him
    overwhelmed him with grief, and he would not have accepted the office had
    not the Pope and his own Cistercian General, the Abbot of Citeaux, commanded
    him to do so. His first care in his new position was to conform his life to
    the most perfect rules of sanctity. He redoubled all his austerities, saying
    it was incumbent on him now to do penance for others as well as for himself.
    He always wore a hair shirt under his religious habit, and never added to
    his clothing in winter or diminished it in summer; he never ate any flesh
    meat, though he had it at his table for guests.

    When he drew near his end, he was, at his request, laid on ashes in his hair
    cloth, and in this posture expired on the 10th of January, 1209. While this
    holy bishop was laid out for veneration, an infirm young boy who wanted to
    venerate him, but had to be carried to the church by his mother, was
    completely cured of his infirmities, and ran about proclaiming the miracle.
    The stone of his tomb in the Cathedral Church of Bourges cured mortal wounds
    and illnesses and delivered possessed persons; the deaf and dumb, the blind,
    the mentally ill became sound. So many miracles occurred there that the
    monks could not record them all, and he was canonized nine years after his
    death, in 1218, by Pope Honorius III.

    Reflection. The champions of faith prove the truth of their teaching no less
    forcefully by the holiness of their lives than by the power of their
    arguments. Never forget that to convert others we must first see to our own

    Sources: Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on
    Butler's Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea
    (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894); Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des
    Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 1.
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