William of Vercelli, St.
WILLIAM OF VERCELLI, ST.
Abbot; b. Vercelli, Piedmont, 1085; d. monastery of S. Salvatore at Goleto (or, Guglieto), near Nusco, Italy, June 25, 1142. He was the founder of the now extinct congregation of Benedictine monks called williamites (1119) and of the celebrated abbey and shrine of Our Lady of Monte Vergine, near Avellino, southern Italy. At 14 he gave up his inheritance and made a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Upon returning to Italy in 1106, he began to live as a hermit. Some time later he built a cell on a mountain in the Partenio range, which he renamed Monte Vergine, and here he built the shrine to Our Lady, 1124. His first companions joined him in 1118 and 1119. When disagreements arose over alms received, William with five others moved to another mountain called Serra Cognata. Subsequently, he founded other monasteries, including the double monastery (see monastery, double) near Nusco, in southern Italy where he died at the age of 57. A Latin life of William by Felix Renda was published in Naples (1581), and another by Joannes Jacobus also at Naples (1643). His cultus was confirmed in 1728 and 1785.
Feast: June 25; Sept. 2 (translation).
Bibliography: Acta Sanctorum, June V (1744), 112ff. c. mercuro, "Una leggenda medioevale di S. Guglielmo da Vercelli," Rivista Storica Benedettina 1 (1906) 321–333; 2 (1907) 74–100, 345–370. m. heimbucher, Die Orden und Kongregationen der katholischen Kirche (Paderborn 1932–34) 1:201. a. m. zimmermann, Kalendarium Benedictinum: Die Heiligen und Seligen des Benediktinerorderns und seiner Zweige (Metten 1933–38) 2:358–361. a. butler, The Lives of the Saints, rev. ed. h. thurston and d. attwater (New York 1956) 2:635–637.
[m. a. habig]