Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Saint Boniface

Saint Boniface was a missionary who propagated Christianity in the Frankish Empire during the 8th century. He was born around 675 AD in Wessex, England, and by the age of 30, he had become an ordained priest. On his missions east of the Rhine River, he was unrelenting in his effort to convert pagans to his faith. In the Frankish kingdom, he met great problems because of lay interference in bishops’ elections, the worldliness of the clergy and lack of papal control. In order to restore the Germanic Church to its fidelity to Rome and to convert the pagans, he had been guided by two principles. The first was to restore the obedience of the clergy to their bishops in union with the pope of Rome. The second was the establishment of many houses of prayer which took the form of Benedictine monasteries. A great number of Anglo-Saxon monks and nuns followed him to the continent. He introduced Benedictine nuns to the active apostolate of education. During a final mission to the Frisians, he and 53 companions were massacred while he was preparing converts for Confirmation. They died on June 5, 654 in Dokkum, Frisia, which is now in the Netherlands. St Boniface is the patron saint of Germany.

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