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BONIFACE


656


BONIFACE


make a clear distinction between inspiration and revelation. (See Pesch, "De Inspiratione, " Nos. 323 and 324.)

The "Praeloquia" were published along with a commentary on the Pentateuch in a volume entitled : " Pentateuchus Mosis commentario illustratus, prse- mi.ssis praeloquiis perutilibus" (fol., Antwerp, 1625). This was followed by his commentary on Josue, Judges, and Ruth, to which he added a treatise on sacred geography, composed by Eusebius and trans- lated by St. Jerome: "Josue, Judices et Ruth commen- tario illustrati. Accessit Onomasticon" (fol., Paris, 1631). Bonfrere had undertaken to explain the Books of Kings before his work on the Pentateuch, he tells us in his preface to the latter; but he had felt the need of going back to the beginning of things. His "Libri Regum et Paralipomenon commentariis illus- trati", was given to the press at Tournai, in 1643, after his death. But the printing-house was burned, and the work did not appear. Bibliographers have no reference even to the MSS. The learned professor is said to have left commentaries on nearly all the other books of the Bible. Bonfrere 's explanation of the text of Scripture shows a very good knowledge of Hebrew, and he pays special attention to the places mentioned. His erudition was extensive for his time. The soberness and judiciousness of his comments are generally admired.

Alegambe. BM. Script. S.J.. .\ndre, Bib. Belgica; Sweert, Athena: Belgica.

W. S. Reilly.

Boniface (^\'^infrid, Wynfrith), Saint, Apostle of Germany, date of birth unknown; martvTed 5 Jime, 755 (754); emblems: the oak, axe, book, fox, scourge, fountain, raven, sword. He was a native of England, though some authorities have claimed him for Ireland or Scotland. The place of his birth is not kno«ii, though it was probably in the south-western part of Wessex. Crediton (Kirton) in Devonshire is given by more modern authors. The same un- certainty exists in regard to the year of his birth. It seems, however, safe to state that he was not born before 672 or 675, or as late as 680. Descended from a noble family, from his earliest years he showed great ability, and received a religious education. His parents intended him for secular pursuits, but, in- spired ^\-ith higher ideals by missionarj- monks who ■s-isited his home, Winfrid felt himself called to a religious state. After much difficulty he obtained his father's permission and went to the monasterj- of Adescancastre on the site of the present city of Exeter, where, under the direction of Abbot Wolfhard, he was trained in piety and learning. About seven years later he went to the Abbey of Nhutscelle (Xut- shalling) between Winchester and Southampton. Here, leading an austere and studious life imder Abbot Winbert, he rapidly advanced in sanctity and knowl- edge, excelling especially in the profomid understand- ing of the Sacred Scriptures, of which he gives e\"i- ■dence in his letters. He was also well educated in history, grammar, rhetoric, and poetrj'. He made his profession as a member of the Benedictine Order and was placed in charge of the monastic school. At the age of thirty he was ordained priest. Through his abbot the fame of Winfrid's learning soon reached bigh civil and ecclesiastical circles. He also had great success as a preacher. With even,' prospect of a great career and the highest dignities in his own coimtry, he had no desire for human glory, for the thought of bringing the light of the Gospel to his kindred, the Old Saxons, in Germany, had taken possession of his mind. After many requests Winfrid at last obtained the permission of his abbot.

In 716 he set out for the mission in Friesland. Since the Faith had already been preached there by Wigbert, Willibrord, and others,Winfrid expected to find a good soil for his missionary work, but po-


litical disturbances caused him to return temporarily to England. Towards the end of 717 Abbot Winbert died, and Winfrid was elected to succeed him, but declined and induced Daniel, Bishop of Winchester, to influence the monks to elect another. Winfrid was left free to follow out his intentions, but before going back to his apostolic work he wished to visit Rome and to obtain from the pope the apostolic mission and the necessarj- faculties. Bishop Daniel gave liim an open letter of recommendation to kings, princes, bishops, abbots, and priests, and a private letter to the pope. On Winfrid's arrival in Rome, in the fall of 718, Pope Gregory II received him kindly, praised his resolution, and, having satisfied himself in various conferences as to the orthodo.xy of Winfrid, his morals, and the purity of his motives, on 15 May, 719, he gave him full authority to preach the Gospel to the heathens in Germany to the right of the Rhine, ordering him at the same time to adhere to the Roman practice in the administration of the Sacrament of Baptism, and to consult with the Holy See in case of difficulties.

Having received instructions to make his first journey tlu-ough the country, only a tour of inspection, he travelled through Bavaria and found the Church flourishing, with a number of churches and monas- teries. In Alamannia. which he crossed on his way to Thuringia, he foimd similar conditions. Thuringia was considered by Rome as Christian, and the mission of Winfrid was supposed to be that of an authorized reformer. He found the countrj', however, in a sad condition St. Kilian had laboured with energy, but without success. Duke Gotzbert and some years later his son, Hethan II, both converts of St. Kilian had been murdered, perhaps on account of their in- judicious zeal in trj-ing to spread Christianity. Great nimibers of their rebellious subjects had lapsed into heathenism, or a mixture of Christianity and idolatrj'. Winfrid tried to enkindle a missionary spirit in the priests and to make the people live up to the pure precepts of the Christian religion. Though he con- verted some of the heathens, he did not meet with the success which he had anticipated. On his way to the court of Charles Martel, possibly to interest that prince in the matter, he received news of the death of the Frisian King Radbod, and went to Friesland. Here he spent three years under the aged St. Willi- brord, travelling about with tireless energj', and preaching fearlessly as he went. Multitudes of Chris- tians who had fallen away during the persecution of Radbod were brought to repentance and thousands of pagans accepted the Faith. Many of the converts were brought together to lead a religious life under the Rule of St. Benedict. St. Willibrord, feeling the weight of his years, wished to make Winfrid his assistant and successor in the See of Utrecht. Win- frid refused, giving as his main reason that the pope had sent him for missionary work. He therefore left and followed in the wake of the army of Charles ilartel as far as Trier. Near this city was the Abbey of Pfalzel (Palatiolum). From there he took with him as a disciple and companion Gregory, a boy of about fourteen or fifteen, afterwards abbot in Utrecht, and continued his journey to Thuringia. where he con- verted many. He then went into Hessia, where many more were brought into the fold of Christ. With the assistance of two chiefs whom he had converted he established a monastic cell at Amoneburg at the River Olun (then called Amana) in Upper Hessia, as a kind of missionary centre in which native clergy were to be educated.

While Winfrid was under the jurisdiction of St. Willibrord he had no special reason for reporting to the Holy See, but, now working independently, he considered it his duty to do so. He therefore sent Bjmnan, one of his disciples, with a letter to Gregory II, recounting his labours of the past years and asking