Butler’s Lives of the Saints – Saint William, Bishop of San Brieuc in Brittany, Confessor

detail of a stained glass window of Saint William of Saint-Brieuc, Saint-Corentin Cathedral, Quimper, Brittany, France; date and artist unknown; photographed on 25 July 2013 by Thesupermat; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsArticle

Saint William Pinchon, of an illustrious family in Brittany, was, by the innocence of his manners, his admirable meekness, humility, chastity, mortification, charity and devotion, an accomplished model of all virtues. He received the tonsure, and some years after the holy orders of deacon and priest, at the hands of Josselin, bishop of San Brieuc; served that church under his two successors, Peter and Sylvester, and succeeded the latter in the episcopal dignity about the year 1220. The poor were his treasurers, and not content to exhaust on them whatever he possessed, he often borrowed great stores of corn and other necessary provisions for their relief. The bare boards were usually his bed; for his domestics discovered that he never made use of the soft bed which they prepared for him. The assiduous application to all the functions of his charge, was no hinderance to his nourishing within himself the spirit of recollection and holy prayer. He died about the year 1234, on the 29th of July, on which his name occurs in the Roman Martyrology. His body was deposited in his cathedral, and taken up incorrupt in 1284. He was canonized by Innocent IV in 1253, according to Baronius.

MLA Citation

  • Father Alban Butler. “Saint William, Bishop of San Brieuc in Brittany, Confessor”. Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Principal Saints, 1866. CatholicSaints.Info. 31 December 2018. Web. 16 February 2019. <>