Old Calendar: St. Boniface
St. Boniface, a monk of Exeter in England, is one of the great figures of the Benedictine Order and of the monastic apostolate in the Middle Ages. Gregory II sent him to preach the Gospel in Germany. He evangelized Hesse, Saxony and Thuringia and became Archbishop of Mainz. He well earned the title of Apostle of Germany, and Catholic Germany in our own times still venerates him as its father in the faith. He was put to death by the Frisians at Dokkum in 754 during the last of his missionary journeys. The famous abbey of Fulda, where his body lies, has remained the national shrine of Catholic Germany.
A Benedictine monk was chosen by divine Providence to become Germany's great apostle and patron. Boniface's first missionary endeavor proved unsuccessful (716). Before attempting a second he went to Rome and received papal authorization (718). Under the holy bishop Willibrord he converted Frisia within a period of three years. On November 30, 722, Boniface was consecrated bishop by Pope Gregory II.
- One tradition about Saint Boniface says that he used the customs of the locals to help convert them. There was a game in which they threw sticks called kegels at smaller sticks called heides. Boniface bought religion to the game, having the heides represent demons, and knocking them down showing purity of spirit. You might use your ingenuity to imitate this game for your children and tell them the story of St. Boniface.
- When reading more about St. Boniface, you will discover that his baptized name was Winfrid. He took the name Boniface either when he took religious profession as a Benedictine, or when Pope Gregory II consecrated him as a regional bishop. More details can be found at Catholic Encyclopedia's entry.
- St. Boniface was the uncle of St. Walburga. St. Boniface worked with many other canonized saints in his evangelization of Germany. Find out which saints these were.
- Read some of the letters of St. Boniface from The English Correspondence of Saint Boniface: Being for the Most Part Letters Exchanged Between the Apostle of the Germans and His English Friends. Also, you can look at it on microform The English correspondence of Saint Boniface: being for the most part letters exchanged between the apostle of the Germans and his English friends or buy a copy at Amazon.
- St. Boniface, although an Englishman, planted the seeds of the Catholic Faith in Germany (at that time "Germany" included the domains of the Frankish monarchs, present-day Belgium and the Netherlands), and now Germany calls St. Boniface her patron. Bake some special German cookies or treat and learn some of the religious customs that come from this country.