Saint William of Bourges

St. William of Bourges (1155–1209), also known as St. William the Confessor, was born to a noble family in France. He was educated under his uncle who was an archdeacon, and from a young age turned away from the world and gave himself over to religion and learning. He became a priest and later entered religious life in a Cistercian monastery, an order famous for strict discipline. St. William was known to be a cheerful man and a hard worker, and pure of heart. He was chosen to be Archbishop of Bourges in the year 1200, much to his dismay. He left the solitude of the monastery out of obedience and entered into the public life of a bishop, throwing himself wholeheartedly into serving both the spiritual and physical needs of the poor. As bishop he continued his great austerities. He had a great devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and would spend much time in prayer at the foot of the altar. He was known for performing miracles both during his life and after his death. He died kneeling at prayer, and by request was buried wearing his hair shirt and lying in ashes. His feast day is January 10.
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