Saints and Holy People

Find out about their lives and how they changed the world

Saint William of Vercelli (1085–1142)

Saint William of Vercelli (1085–1142)

Feast day: June 25

Saint William of Vercelli was orphaned as a baby and brought up by relatives. He decided to devote his life to God after he completed a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Spain at the age of 14. He lived as a hermit for two years and miraculously healed a blind man. He embarked on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land but was attacked by bandits before he reached his destination. William took the attack as a sign that he would be of more use to God in Italy than in the Holy Land.

He lived life as a hermit at Monte Vergiliano, and his holiness brought him many followers. He formed them into the Hermits of Monte Vergine, whose rule was very similar to that of Benedict. When angry whispers pertaining to William’s harsh discipline reached him, he and a small group of brothers left, in order to avoid a conflict.

Legend has it that after leaving his community, William began building the church on Monteverge with only a donkey for assistance. One night, a wolf devoured the donkey. William commanded the wolf to take the donkey’s place and the wolf complied, not wanting to interrupt God’s work. It is said that the wolf still roams the mountain today, ready to assist those who are in peril and call upon the name of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

(Image via Wikipedia)