St. Boniface

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St. Boniface, Archbishop of Mentz, Apostle of Germany and Martyr

A.D. 755.

ST. BONIFACE was born at Crediton or Kirton in Devonshire about the year 680, and at his baptism named Winfrid. When he was but five years old, his chief delight was to hear holy men converse about God and heavenly things. The edifying deportment and holy instructions of certain pious monks, who, being employed in preaching in that country, happened to come to his father’s house, gave him a strong desire to devote himself to God in a religious state; and though he was then only a child, the deep impressions which their words left upon his heart were never after effaced. His father exerted his whole authority to divert him from his inclination to a monastic life; till being visited by a dangerous sickness, he acknowledged in it the hand of God, chastising him for opposing his son’s vocation, which he from that time gave him free leave to pursue. Winfrid was educated from thirteen years of age in the monastery of Escancester or Exeter, under the holy abbot Wolphard. With the study of grammar he joined assiduous devout meditation, and the most rigorous observance of monastic discipline, even before he had professed that state; which he embraced before he left the aforesaid monastery. After he had spent there some years, the reputation of the schools and discipline of the monastery of Nutcell, 1 in the diocess of Winchester, under the learned abbot Winbert, drew him to that house. He made an extraordinary progress in poesy, rhetoric, history, and in the knowledge of the scriptures; and was afterwards appointed by his abbot to teach the same sciences: of which duty he acquitted himself with great fruit to others, at the same time improving himself in the sciences with that redoubled advantage which maturity of years and judgment, and a diligent review of a well-digested course of former studies give to masters of an elevated genius. At thirty years of age he was promoted to the order of priesthood; and from that time was chiefly employed in preaching the word of God to the people, and in the care of souls. Such was his reputation that he was intrusted by his superiors with an important commission to Brithwald, archbishop of Canterbury; by which means that prelate and the religious king Ina became acquainted with his extraordinary merit: and the bishops of the province from that time invited him to their synods, that they might be assisted by his learning and advice in their deliberations. 1 Continue reading