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January 10  St William of Bourges (1155-1209)  img-Saint-William-of-Bourges

Also known as

  • Guillaume de Bourges
  • William Berruyer
  • William de Don Jeon
  • William the Confessor

 

Member of the family of the Count of Nevers, his father Baldwin planned a military life for William.  Educated by his maternal uncle, Peter the Hermit, archdeacon of Soissons, France, he was drawn to religious life from an early age.  William became a priest, canon of Soissons, and canon of Paris.  He was a monk in the Order of Grantmont, and was noted for his austerities, his devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, and for the time spent praying at the altar.  Internal dissension in the order caused him to leave Grandmont for the recently formed Cistercians, taking the habit at Pontigny.  He was elected abbot at Fontaine-Jean in Sens France, then at Chaalis near Senlis France in 1187.

Reluctant archbishop of Bourges France in 1200, he accepted the position only after receiving orders from the general of his order and from Pope Innocent III.  He lived an even more austere life, defended clerical rights against the state, cared for the poor, sick, imprisoned and debauched.  He converted many Albigensians in his diocese to orthodox Christianity. He died on 10 January 1209 at Bourges France of natural causes while in prayer.  He was canonised on 17 May 1217 by Pope Honorius III.

Sources:
Book of Saints, by the Monks of Ramsgate
Lives of the Saints, by Fr Alban Butler
Pictorial Lives of the Saints
Our Sunday Visitor’s Encyclopedia of Saints

 

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