June 5 is the memorial of St. Boniface, an English Benedictine monk most known for converting pagans in what is now Germany. He is also a really cool guy and deserves to have a really cool nickname. Here are some suggestions:
The monk formally known as Winfrid
Yep, that’s right. Boniface’s original name was Winfrid. Pope Gregory II changed his name to Boniface, a much more appropriate name. He was also a Benedictine monk prior to traveling to Rome to volunteer to be a missionary to the Germanic people.
Doer of good
The name Boniface comes from a Latin word for “doer of good.” It does not, contrary to what a teenage me used to think, mean “bony face.”
Apostle to the Germans
Okay, this isn’t an original idea. Many others have called him this, but it is still a good nickname for him. He is most known for his evangelization in the area that is now Germany. He is also the patron saint of Germany. His biographer Othlo later wrote of him:
“The holy bishop Boniface can call himself father of all the inhabitants of Germany, for it was he who first brought them forth in Christ with the words of his holy preaching; he strengthened them with his example; and lastly, he gave his life for them; no greater love than this can be shown.”
The Catholic lumberjack
In the German town of Geismar, there once stood a large oak tree that was believed by the pagans there to be a holy tree of Thor–the god of thunder, not the superhero. To prove to the people living there that the Christian God is/was more powerful than the pagan god of Thor and to end superstitious practices involving the tree, Saint Boniface decided to chop down the tree.
He reared back and took a swing at this large tree. It was a tiny blow, but then a gust of wind blew and took the tree down. The people were amazed, and many conversions occurred.
After chopping down the tree, the stories differ. Some say a fir tree sprung up from the remnants of the oak tree. This is one legend behind the Christmas tree. Another story states that Saint Boniface took the wood from the giant oak tree and built a chapel dedicated to Saint Peter.
Whatever the ending, the fact remains that Saint Boniface is largely responsible for the conversion of the Germanic people and is rightfully their patron. His witness to this part of the world is one of many stories of courageous people who did extraordinary things in the name of Christ and His Church.
If there are any Catholic schools named for St. Boniface, they need to call themselves the St. Boniface Lumberjacks.
The peace-loving lartyr
On a missionary trip to Frisia, Boniface had succeeded in converting some pagans. As Boniface and his companion monks prepared to receive them into the Church, a large crowd of armed pagans surrounded them. Boniface discouraged his companions from fighting the pagans saying, “Cease, my sons, from fighting, give up warfare for the witness of Scripture recommends that we do not give an eye for an eye but rather good for evil. Here is the long awaited day; the time of our end has now come; courage in the Lord!” The ensuing attack made Boniface and his companions martyrs for the Faith.