Saint William of Toulouse and Companions
Jul 21, 2020 / Written by: America Needs Fatima
Feast May 29
Priest and Martyrs, Combated the Albigensian heresy
William Arnaud, a Dominican, and companions were sent to Toulouse in the South of France by Pope Gregory IX to combat the Albigensian heresy then entrenched throughout the region.
The Albigensian heresy preached a dualism where the body was considered evil. As a consequence, they denied that Christ could have been human, rejected the Sacraments and adopted, in their stead, pagan rituals of “purification”.
The priests, meeting with much hostility in town, set up in a house in the surrounding country, and were making many converts, which upset the local government under Count Raymond III of Toulouse.
They and others, a total of eleven, including some Franciscans, Benedictines, and a layman, were deceived into accepting an invitation to the local castle where seven of them were set upon and slaughtered in a most barbarous manner.
The other four, William Arnaud among them, escaped to a local church where they were found singing religious hymns.
Violating the medieval “sanctuary” – an unforgivable act at that time – and angered by the singing, the soldiers first cut off William’s tongue, then killed all four.
Their bodies were thrown in a ravine, but that night, light streamed from them leading the faithful to their relics. They were interred in the Church of San Romano at the monastery in Toulouse.
The church in Avignonet where the martyrs had been murdered, was placed under interdict and for years the doors remained locked because of the sacrilege.
Many cures were reported at their graves.