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Boniface as Patron Saint - Mark Fletcher - 15-02-2007 07:59 PM

The other day, I was praying about which Patron Saint I should adopt. Later on, the word 'Boniface' kept impressing itself on my awareness. As all I knew about St. Boniface was what I had read in 'Our Daily Life' (page 43), I felt that I should enquire further among the books my landlady has got, and in my local Reference Library.

Although one dictionary stated that Boniface meant 'an inn-keeper' (Chambers 20th Century), the Oxford Names Companion gave a lot of interesting details. The name was often respelled Bonifacius and assigned the meaning 'doer of good deeds', derived by folk etymology from the Latin 'facere'. Bonifatius was the name of the Roman military governor of North Africa in 422 to 432, who was a friend of St. Augustine, and it was also borne by various early Christian saints, notable St. Boniface (c.675-754) who was born in Devon and martyred in Friesland after evangelical work among German tribes. It was also adopted by nine Popes. The original sense 'well fated' remained transparent in Italian, so the name was often bestowed there as a good omen.

The 1993 edition of the 'Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church' lists St. Boniface (680-754) [the article also mentions a Roman martyr called Boniface], Pope Saint Boniface I (died 422), Pope Boniface VIII (c.1234-1303) and Boniface of Savoy (died 1270).

On reading through these, I noted that Pope St. Boniface I firmly condemned Pelagianism. On looking up and refreshing my memory about Pelagianism, I could think of no more appropriate choice for my own personal Patron Saint!

So in choosing BONIFACE as my Patron Saint, I am choosing all of these 'doers of good' at the same time! I shall try and learn a little (when I feel it is appropriate) to find out much more about all these Bonifaces, and hope that I too will be a doer of good in my own way, reflecting the goodness of Jesus in my life.

My question is: does this choice seem to be the work of the Holy Spirit, or am I just kidding myself?


Boniface - John Charmley - 15-02-2007 08:15 PM

Dear Mark,

Those better qualified than I am will say more securely than myself, but this sounds as though it is good - sit with it, pray, and then you'll know.

In Christ,

John


Thanks - Mark Fletcher - 16-02-2007 02:40 AM

Thanks again for that, John. Yes, I feel sure that it is the correct choice. You have confirmed it. May all the Bonifaces (Saints and at least one Martyr) pray for us to the Lord our God. Amen.


Book of Saints - Mark Fletcher - 16-02-2007 04:14 PM

I was very pleased to find a copy of the Sixth Edition of 'The Book of Saints' compiled by the Benedictine Monks of Saint Augustine's Abbey, Ramsgate, Kent [ISBN 0-7136-3006-X] in Dover Public Library's reference section this morning. It contains 16 entries on various Saints and Martyrs called Boniface. There are 13 Saints and 3 whom the Roman Catholic Church call 'Blessed'. The only dodgy one is "St. Boniface the Martyr", said to be one of the martyrs who suffered with St. Palmatius and companions, who died around 287. These apochryphal martyrs of Trier were alleged (only since the 11th century) to have been put to death under Maximian Herculeus.

It's a fascinating field of study. What a pity that so little interest is taken in the lives of these truly great Christians nowadays.


- admin - 16-02-2007 05:39 PM

Hi Mark

Have you seen this site about St Boniface of Crediton?

<!-- m --><a class="postlink" href="http://www.boniface.org.uk/">http://www.boniface.org.uk/</a><!-- m -->

I wonder if we could organise a pilgrimage there one day.

Peter