- William of Saint Benignus
Born to the Italian nobility, the son of Count Robert of Volpiano. Born during a battle in which his father defended the island against Emperor Otto. When the island was lost, the Emperor became William’s sponsor and patron. Educated from age seven in the Benedictine abbey of Locadio, Vercelli, Italy. Benedictine monk at Locadio. Monk at Cluny Abbey in 987 under Saint Majolus. Reorganized Saint Sernin abbey on the Rhône. Abbot of Saint Benignus abbey at Dijon, France. Ordained in 990. Under his direction, and with his zeal for the Cluniac reform, Benignus became a center of spirituality, education, and culture, and the mother monastery of some 40 others in Burgundy, Lorraine, Normandy, and northern Italy. Noted for his zeal for the Church, his tender concern for the poor, his resolve and lack of intimidation when dealing with the politically powerful.