SAINT WILLIAM OF BOURGES Bishop (Historical)
St. William the Confessor was a member of the noble family of the Counts of Nevers, born in the 12th century in Nevers, France. His father, Baldwin, planned a military life for the young William. He was educated, however, by his maternal uncle, Peter the Hermit, archdeacon of Soissons, and was drawn toward religious life from an early age. He first was a Monk in the Order of Grandmont. He became a priest and then a canon at Soissons and finally a canon at Paris. He was noted for his austere life, for his devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, and for the time spent praying at the altar. Internal dissension in his religious order caused him to leave Grandmont for the recently formed Cistercian Order, taking the habit at Pontigny. He became abbot at Fontaine-Jean in Sens, France. And then he was elected abbot at Chalis near Senlis, France in 1187. He reluctantly assumed the position of archbishop at Bourges in central France in 1200, accepting the position only after receiving orders from the general of his order and from Pope Innocent III himself. St. William then lived an even more austere life, defended clerical rights against the state, cared personally for the poor, sick, imprisoned and debauched, and converted many Albigensian heretics in his diocese to orthodox Christianity. He died January 10, 1209 at Bourges, France, of natural causes while at prayer. Witnesses claim he performed 18 miracles during his life and another 18 after his death. He was canonized on May 17, 1217 by Pope Honorius III.
Deacon & Martyr (Historical)