Skip to comments.Saint Boniface, Bishop and Martyr 680-754 AD [Repost]
Posted on 06/04/2008 10:56:50 PM PDT by Salvation
Spiritual Bouquet: If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, and wife and children, and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. St. Luke 14:26
Saint Boniface was born in Devonshire, England in the year 680. Some missionaries staying at his father's house spoke to him of heavenly things and inspired him with a wish to devote himself, as they did, to God. He entered the monastery of Exminster, and was trained there for his apostolic labors.
His first attempt to convert the pagans in Holland having failed, he went to Rome to obtain the Pope's blessing on his mission, and returned with authority to preach to the German tribes. It was a slow and dangerous task; his own life was in constant peril, while his flock was often reduced to abject poverty by wandering bands of robbers. Yet his courage never flagged.
He began with Bavaria and Thuringia, next visited Friesland, then passed on to Hesse and Saxony, everywhere destroying the idol temples and raising churches in their place. He endeavored to make every object of idolatry contribute in some way to the glory of God. On one occasion, having cut down an immense oak which was consecrated to Jupiter, he used the tree in building a church, which he dedicated to the Prince of the Apostles.
After being recalled to Rome and consecrated bishop by the Pope, he returned to extend and organize the rising German Church. With diligent care he reformed abuses among the existing clergy, while establishing religious houses throughout the land. At length, feeling his infirmities increase, and fearful of losing his martyr's crown, Saint Boniface appointed a superior for his monastery and set out anew to convert a pagan tribe.
While he was about to administer Confirmation to some newly baptized Christians, a troop of pagans arrived, armed with swords and spears. His attendants would have opposed them, but the Saint said to his followers: "My children, cease your resistance; the long expected day is come at last. Scripture forbids us to resist evil. Let us put our hope in God: He will save our souls." Scarcely had he ceased speaking, when the barbarians fell upon him and slew him, with all his attendants, fifty-two in number.
Reflection. Saint Boniface teaches us how the love of Christ changes all things. It was for Christ's sake that he toiled for souls, preferring poverty to riches, labor to rest, suffering to pleasure, death to life, that by dying he might live with Christ.
Source: Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, compiled from "Butler's Lives" and other sources by John Gilmary Shea. New York, Benziger Brothers, 1894.
Repost — some of these articles are getting pretty old and need to be reposted. Glad I finally found this one.
What a wonderful saint. Determined until the end to achieve a crown of sainthood. Bless him!
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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 endeavour 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.
In 724 he turned his attention to the Hessian people, among whom he continued his missionary activity with renewed zeal. On an eminence near the village of Geismar on the Eder, he felled a giant oak that the people honoured as the national sanctuary of the god Thor. Boniface used the wood to build a chapel in honour of St. Peter. This courageous act assured the eventual triumph of the Gospel in Germany.
The resident clergy and the priests dwelling at the court, whose unworthy lives needed censure, were constantly creating difficulties. Nevertheless Boniface continued to labour quietly, discreetly. He prayed unceasingly, put his trust in God alone, recommended his work to the prayers of his spiritual brothers and sisters in England. And God did not abandon him. Conversions were amazingly numerous. In 732 Gregory III sent him the pallium, the insignia of the archiepiscopal dignity. Boniface now devoted his time and talent to the ecclesiastical organization of the Church in Germany. He installed worthy bishops, set diocesan boundaries, promoted the spiritual life of the clergy and laity, held national synods (between 742 and 747), and in 744 founded the monastery of Fulda, which became a centre of religious life in central Germany. In 745 he chose Mayence for his archiepiscopal see, and affiliated to it thirteen suffragan dioceses. This completed the ecclesiastical organization of Germany.
The final years of his busy life were spent, as were his earlier ones, in missionary activity. Word came to him in 754 that a part of Frisia had lapsed from the faith. He took leave of his priests and, sensing the approach of death, carried along a shroud. He was 74 years of age when with youthful enthusiasm he began the work of restoration, a mission he was not to complete. A band of semi-barbarous pagans overpowered and put him to death when he was about to administer confirmation to a group of neophytes at Dockum.
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