St. William of Vercelli was born in Vercelli, Peidmont in 1085. He was the founder of the now extinct congregation of Benedictine monks called "Williamites" and of the celebrated abbey and shrine of Our Lady of Monte Vergine, near Avellino, southern Italy. At 14 he gave up his inheritance and made a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Upon returning to Italy in 1106, he began to live as a hermit. Sometime later he built a cell on a mountain in the Partenio range, which he renamed Monte Virgine, and here he built the shrine to Our Lady.
His first companions joined him in 1118, but William and five loyal disciples left to preserve the community when the majority complained that conditions were too austere and that William gave away all of the alms received. Subsequently, he founded other monasteries including the double monastery near Nusco, in southern Italy, where he died in 1142. His feast day is commemorated on June 25th.