A Garner of Saints – Saint Boniface

detail of an illustration of Saint Boniface by Cornelis Bloemaert, c.1630Article

Born at Crediton, in Devonshire, about 380, his baptismal name being Winifred. His parents were noble and wealthy, and yielded with reluctance to his desire to become a monk when he entered the Benedictine monastery of Nutsall. He longed to become a missionary, and at length departed to preach to the Frisians, but his efforts were in vain, because the people were fighting Charles Martel. Returned to the monastery of Nutsall he was elected abbot, but declined the honour, and before long he left England for Rome in order to go and solicit the aid of Pope Gregory II for the conversion of the Germans. Here he changed his name to Boniface, and having received his commission from the pope proceeded to Thuringia and Bavaria, afterwards going on to Friesland and Saxony, founding monasteries everywhere, and destroying the shrines of idols, on one occasion felling an oak sacred to Thor. In the year 732 the pope sent for Boniface and created him archbishop of Germany, and soon afterwards King Pepin le Bref, whom he had crowned, made him Bishop of Mainz. In his seventy-fourth year Boniface resigned his preferments, and taking once more to his Benedictine habit he crossed the Rhine and went to preach to the Frisians. He went through all the country preaching and baptising. One night he pitched his tent on the banks of a rivulet and awaited the arrival of some of his disciples. But the morning brought instead an angry crowd of pagans. The servants of Boniface drew their swords and offered to fight, but the saint forbade all resistance, and was slaughtered with fifty-two of his adherents in the year 755. The pagans pillaged the tents, but instead of finding treasures they only discovered books and relics, which they dispersed hither and thither, but which were afterwards found and preserved. The remains were carried first to Utrecht, then to Mainz, and finally to Fulda, the principal monastic foundation of the saint. Among his other foundations were the bishoprics of Eichstadt and Wurzburg. 5th June.

Attributes

  • Book traversed by a sword. He wears the Benedictine habit or the dress of a bishop.

MLA Citation

  • Allen Banks Hinds, M.A. “Saint Boniface”. A Garner of Saints, 1900. CatholicSaints.Info. 17 April 2017. Web. 24 October 2017. <>