Today’s Saint

Daily Journey with the Saints

June 25 | The Power of Pilgrimage

Saint William of Vercelli

A.D. 1085–1142

Life is a pilgrimage, but sometimes you need a pilgrimage to discover life. 

Back on February 13, we talked about the difference between pilgrims and tourists, and we prayed for the grace to adopt the hearts and minds of a pilgrim. Now, let’s talk about how powerful the pilgrimages we make on earth can be.

For that, there are fewer people better to turn to than Saint William of Vercelli.

William gets his name from the Italian city he was born in: Vercelli. His parents died when he was only 14 years old, and with the special intention of mourning their loss, William set out on a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela—commonly called “The Camino.” It was a journey that would profoundly change the course of his life. 

With every day that passed, William stepped into a deeper relationship with God. As he traversed through the mountains and rugged landscapes, his spirit was shaped by the trials and blessings he encountered on the road. 

By the time he returned, William was a different man. The things he wanted out of life had completely changed. William sought solitude and natural beauty, choosing the remote mountains of southern Italy to be his new home as a hermit. Here, his pilgrimage continued, but it was not across lands that he traveled—it was deeper and deeper into his own soul.

Saint William of Vercelli went on to found a new religious order and become the spiritual counselor to kings and popes. And it all began with his pilgrimage on the Camino.

Life is a pilgrimage, a sacred journey. We are journeying in this life toward the sacred city, toward the heart of God, toward heaven. Nobody makes the journey alone. We all need companions. Some of the very best friendships you ever have may start on pilgrimages. Pilgrimages are life changing, and when you experience something like that with other people, you form a very special bond.

Very often people make pilgrimages with special intentions in mind. Some ask God for a favor, perhaps to heal a loved one who is sick. Others make a pilgrimage in thanksgiving for a blessing they have already received from God. There are always couples on our pilgrimages who renew their vows. It is too powerful to describe in words. 

What pilgrimage—physical or spiritual—is God inviting you to make at this time in your life? Will you embrace the sacred journey?


My life is a pilgrimage, a sacred journey.

This reflection is brought to you from book title.

Patron Saint of: Irpinia

Also Known As: William the Abbot or William of Montevergine

Symbols: A Wolf and Crosier

Feast Day: June 25

Feast Day Shared By: Saint William and Saint Prosperus of Aquitaine

Canonized: 1224

Canonized By: Pope Pius XII

Image of mountain and man reflecting in the water below.

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