Today’s Saint

Daily Journey with the Saints

May 29 | You Are Not Too Old

Saint William of Gellone

A.D. 755–812

What are the two greatest excuses of human history?

Here’s the first: "I'm too young for that stuff." 

Here’s the second: "I'm too old for that stuff."

Saint William of Gellone refused to use the second excuse, and that’s why we remember him today.

William’s early years in the military of the Holy Roman Empire earned him the reputation of a fearless warrior, but it was later in life that he won his greatest battles. 

At 46 years old, an age where most soldiers of that time would consider their greatest achievements behind them, William led a Christian army into Spain to take back control of the country. It was 801 and Spain was under the control of the Ummayad Caliphate, a dynasty that had seemed invincible ever since they declared a jihad against Christians in 793. Even so, William marched his soldiers to Barcelona and triumphed, securing the victory that would mark him as one of the most revered military leaders of the middle ages.

But William wasn’t done with surprises. At the age of 51, a time in life when our culture often expects individuals to settle into their ways, William chose a path less traveled. He renounced his noble title and the accolades of his military career to become a monk. He founded the monastery of Gellone, dedicating his life to prayer, contemplation, and service to others. This shift from warrior to monk at such an age was unheard of at the time—until William did it. 

Saint William of Gellone died eight years later, at the monastery he founded. The church bells were said to ring on their own the moment he passed from this life to the next.

Remember this for the rest of your life: You are never too young or too old to do something amazing.

Oscar Hammerstein 64 years old when he wrote The Sound of Music. Winston Churchill 65 years old when he became Britain's Prime Minister and picked the fight with Hitler. Nelson Mandela was 71 years old when he was released from more than 20 years in a South African prison. Four years later, he was elected president of South Africa. Michelangelo was 72 years old when he designed the dome of St. Peter's in Rome. Benjamin Franklin 79 years old when he invented bifocals. And aren't you glad he did? Stelios Prassas was 91 years old when he ran the Athens marathon. Teiichi Igarashi was 101 years old when he climbed Mount Fuji.

You are not too old.


I am never too old to pursue my dreams.

This reflection is brought to you from book title.

Also Known As: William of Orange

Feast Day: May 29

Feast Day Shared By: Saint Ursula Ledóchowska and Saint Paul VI

Canonized: 1066

Canonized By: Pope Alexander II

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