St. William of Rochester

St. William of Rochester Feast Day:
Roman Rite Calendar - 05/23
Tridentine Calendar - 05/23

Patron Of: Adopted Children

    William led a wild and misspent youth, but as an adult he had a complete conversion, devoting himself to God, caring especially for poor and neglected children. He worked as a baker, and gave every tenth loaf to the poor. He attended Mass daily, and one morning on his way to church he found an infant abandoned on the threshold. He named the baby David, and adopted him, and taught him his trade.

    Years later he and David set out on a pilgrimage to the Holy Lands. During a stopover in Rochester, England the boy David turned on William, clubbed him, cut his throat, robbed the body, and fled. Because he was on a holy journey, and because of the miraculous cures later reported at his tomb, he is considered a martyr.

    A local insane woman found William's body, and plaited a garland of honeysuckle flowers for it; she placed the garland on William, and then on herself whereupon her madness was cured. Local monks, seeing this as a sign from God, interred William in the local cathedral and began work on his shrine. His tomb and a chapel at his murder scene, called Palmersdene, soon became sites of pilgimage and donation, even by the crown. Remains of the chapel can be seen near the present Saint William's Hospital.

    12th century at Perth, Scotland


    throat cut in 1201 at Rochester, England; interred in the cathedral at Rochester; relics destroyed along with the cathedral in 1538

    1256 by Pope Innocent IV; his cause had been pursued by Lawrence de San Martino, bishop of Rochester

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All information used with permission of the Patron Saint Index.


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