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Saint of the Day - Saint William of Eskilsoe (April 6)

Saint William of Eskilsoe is known by a few different names: William of Æbelholt; Vilhelm of Æbelholt; William of Eskilsø; and William of Paris. Saint William was born around the year 1125 at Paris in the Kingdom of France, and died on Easter Sunday, 1203 (April 6, 1203). He was born to a wealthy and prominent Franch family and was educated by his uncle, Hugh whop was the forty-second Abbott of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. He led an interesting life in his 78 years. Join me as we take a brief glance into the life of Saint William of Eskilsoe.

After his educated and his ordination to the diaconate, Saint William was awarded a position as a prebend of the Cathedral at the Abbey of Saint Genevieve. A prebend is a type of Canon with an administrative role in a cathedral or collegiate church. Saint William reportedly sought admission into a stricter house - either Cluniac or Cistercian - but ultimately decided to stay put. His austere life did not earn him any favors among his fellow Canons, who sought to prevent him from being ordained into the diaconate - even by means of slander to keep him from being ordained to the diaconate by the Archbishop of Paris. Instead, Saint William would have to be ordained by the Bishop of Senlis.

Pope Eugene III ordered, in 1148, the the secular canons of Ste-Geneviève were replaced by canons regular from the Parisian Monastery of Saint Victor. Saint William joined the new order, though he often butted heads with his abbott, who subjected him too humiliating disciplines.

In the year 1161, Absolon, the Bishop of Roskilde, sent Saxo Grammaticus from Denmark to Paris to retrieve canons regular for the reform of the canonry at Saint Thomas at Eskilsø. It is said that Absolon and Saint William formed a close friendship. Saint William did successfully reform that \astery and transferred too Æbelholt in 1176. As the Abbott at Æbelholt, Saint William worked hard to bring t]forth the change resulting from new standards of religious disciplines. Among these new religious disciplines was a stricter insistence on claustration - that is, the great insistence on religious being cloistered within the monastery. Saint William also worked to establish and maintain links between Denmark's religious institutions that had similar inclinations to ecclesiastical rigor.

In the years 1183, the monastery at Æbelholt had 25 monks. It also served as a hostel for pilgrims, and did not charge for staying or eating there.

Saint William died on Easter Sunday 1203, which was April 6 of that year. Saint William was canonized by Pope Homnorius III on January 21, 1224.

Saint William, pray for us!



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