Venerable John Nicolucci of Saint William
Augustinian Servant of God
John Nicolucci of Saint William (1552-1621) was first a teacher. Later he lived in two hermitages, where his wisdom and holiness drew many pilgrims who traveled long distances to avail themselves of his counsel and spiritual direction.
John was born July 15, 1552 in Montecassiano, Macerata, Italy. Both his parents died while he was quite young.
He entered the Augustinian Order at Saint Mark Monastery in 1570. After completing his theological studies, he was ordained a Priest in 1575.
Not long after his ordination, John was the subject of some false accusations. At first these were believed, and Church authorities punished him severely. Although not guilty, John accepted his punishments with resignation. Finally, in 1587, Augustinian Prior General (world leader) Gregory of Montelparo recognized John's innocence and lifted his penalties.
John taught Philosophy and Theology for several years, then was named Director of Novices at Saint Felix of Giano in Umbria. Later he served in Perugia, then was named Prior (local superior) of Augustinian communities, first in Camerino and afterwards in Montecassiano.
Desiring greater solitude and prayer, John obtained permission to live the life of a hermit initially at Our Lady of Sassetta in the Siena territory, and subsequently in the Hermitage of Saint William at Castiglione della Pescaia in Maremma. Finally, he founded a new hermitage in Tirli, not far from Castiglione della Pescaia.
Pilgrims came in large numbers to hear John's preaching and receive spiritual direction and counsel from him.
In 1621, John went to live in the reformed house of Discalced Augustinians in Battignano, Grosseto, taking the name John of Saint William. He had been there a little more than three months when, on August 15, 1621, he died a holy death. His remains are preserved in Battignano.
Because of his reputation for holiness, all sorts of persons asked John to pray for them. His prayers brought them many graces.
The cause for his beatification and canonization began in 1625. His virtuous life was officially recognized in 1770. Josef Sciberras, O.S.A., the Augustinian Postulator of Causes, now oversees the progress of John's cause.