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St. William of Maleval

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(or ST. WILLIAM THE GREAT).

Died 10 February, 1157; beatified in 1202. His life, written by his disciple Albert, who lived with him during his last year at Maleval, has been lost. The life by Theodobald, or Thibault, given by the Bollandists is unreliable, having been interpolated with the lives of at least two other Williams. After a number of chapters in which he is confused with St. William of Gellone, Duke of Aquitaine, we are told that he went to Rome, where he had an interview with Eugene III, who ordered him to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in penance for his sins. Though Theodobald's account of his interview with the pope does not carry conviction, the fact of this visit and his subsequent pilgrimage to Jerusalem is supported by excerpts from the older life, which are preserved by responsories and antiphons in his Office. He seems to have remained at Jerusalem for one or two years, not nine as Theodobald relates. About 1153 he returned to Italy and led a hermit's life in a wood near Pisa, then on Monte Pruno, and finally in 1155 in the desert valley of Stabulum Rodis, later known as Maleval, in the territory of Siena and Bishopric of Grosseto, where he was joined by Albert.

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