St. William is credited with the miracle of restoring sight to a blind man. Thus he must have let himself be a true instrument of God's presence, being concerned about the way in which people see. After this cure occurred, he did not seek fame as a wonder worker, but left the neighborhood to go live with St. John of Matera.
Attacked by robbers while on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, he took this as a sign from God that God had a different type of work for him to do. He once again went to a mountainside and lived as a hermit. Soon priests and lay people came to him and wanted to learn from him and pray with him.
As the people multiplied, he began a religious community and built a church named after Mary. The mountain has received its present name - Monte Vergine - from this community and church. He laid down a rule which encouraged fasting. Perhaps he saw that fasting invites us to clear out the clutter in our lives and make space for God. He then found a prior to lead that community and left to start other communities in various areas.
King Roger II of Naples saw the Spirit's presence in St. William and drew him to Salerno where he sought his counsel and help. Thus St. William's life of solitude, prayer, fasting and sharing faith had made a light to shine forth from him -- it was the light of Christ.
St. William died at Guglietto on June 25, 1142. He left no written constitutions, but a code of regulations bringing the order into conformity with Benedictine rule. The only monastery of William's foundation which exists at the present day is that of Monte Vergine. It now belongs to the Benedictine congregation of Subiaco, and has a much venerated picture of our Lady of Constantinople, to which pilgrimages are frequently made.
(text based on information from St. William Parish, Fridley, MN)
Our parish was named to honor the Reverend William Dunn, the first pastor of the mission, but also associates itself with St. William of
Born in Vercelli, Italy in 1085, St. William was the Abbot and founder of a religious congregation known as the Hermits of Monte Vergine.
At fourteen he is said to have left his home and set out as a poor pilgrim for Compostela in Spain. He wanted to live a life in solitude, although he did end up discovering his need for companions. His life was engaged with doing penance, not in a negative way, but in a way which acknowledged that God's mercy is beyond our comprehension -- it is generous beyond measure.
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