St. William of York (Bishop)

St. William of York (Bishop)

Saint William of York, born round 1110, serves as a profound instance of religion and resilience within the face of adversity. He was the son of Herbert, Chancellor to King Henry I, and thus loved a privileged upbringing. Ordained as a priest, William’s piety and dedication led to his election as Archbishop of York in 1141. However, his path was fraught with challenges.

Despite his official election, political intrigue and opposition arose, primarily from the Cistercians, led by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux. This opposition led to allegations of simony and unchastity in opposition to William, inflicting his election to be annulled by Pope Innocent II. Rather than succumb to despair, William accepted his destiny and retreated to Winchester, residing a lifetime of quiet prayer and repair.

Remarkably, in 1153, with the assist of the brand new Pope, Anastasius IV, William was reinstated as Archbishop of York. His return was short-lived, as he handed away in 1154, seemingly as a consequence of poisoning. Despite his turbulent episcopacy, William’s legacy endured, and he was canonized in 1227 by Pope Honorius III.


  • Lesson 1: Perseverance in Adversity: Despite going through extreme opposition and false accusations, William remained steadfast in his religion and duties. His life teaches us to persist in our religion, even when confronted with seemingly insurmountable challenges.
  • Lesson 2: Forgiveness and Humility: William accepted his wrongful deposition with grace and didn’t harbor resentment. His humility and readiness to forgive those that wronged him are highly effective reminders of the significance of forgiveness in our personal lives.


O gracious Saint William, you confronted trials and opposition with unwavering religion and humility. Intercede for us, that we could discover energy in adversity and embrace a spirit of forgiveness in the direction of those that unsuitable us. Help us to stay trustworthy to God’s will, trusting in His divine plan. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Other Saints We Remember Today

  • St. Medard and Gildard (560), Bishops
  • St. Clodulf of Metz
  • Bl. Pacificus of Cerano

picture: Stained glass of William of York, picture by Fr. Lawrence Lew, OP / Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)


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