May 28 – After Defeating the Saracens, He Joined the Benedictines

May 27, 2019

St. William of Gellone

Painting of Saint William of Gellone by Antonio de Pereda

Painting of Saint William of Gellone by Antonio de Pereda

Born 755; died 28 May, c. 812; was the second count of Toulouse, having attained that dignity in 790. He is by some writers also given the title of Duke of Aquitaine. This saint is the hero of the ninth-century “Roman de Guillame au court nez”, but the story of his life is told in a more reliable form by the anonymous author of the biography which was written soon after the saint’s death, or before the eleventh century according to Mabillon, or during the eleventh century according to the Bollandist Henschen.  His father’s name was Theoderic, his mother’s Aldana, and he was in some way connected with the family of Charles the Great, at whose court he was present as a youth. The great emperor employed him against the Saracen invaders from Spain, whom he defeated at Orange. In 804 he founded a Benedictine monastery, since called S. Guilhem le Desert, in the valley of Gellone, near Lodeve in the Diocese of Maguelonne, and subjected it to the famous St. Benedict of Aniane, whose monastery was close at hand. Two years later (806) he himself became a monk at Gellone, where he remained until his death. His testament, granting certain property to Gellone, and another subjecting that monastery to the Abbot of Aniane, are given by Mabillon. His feast is on 28 May, the day of his death.

MABILLON, Acta SS. O.S.B. saec. IV, I (Venice, 1735), 67-86; Acta SS., VI May, 154-72.

Raymund Webster (Catholic Encyclopedia)

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