This great apostle of Germany was born in Wessex in England. When he was small, some missionaries stayed a while at his home. They told the boy all about their work. They were so happy and excited about bringing the Good News to people. Boniface decided in his heart that he would be just like them when he grew up.
While still young, he went to study at a monastery school in Exeter. When he grew up, he became a popular teacher. Then after he was ordained a priest, he was a powerful preacher because he was so full of enthusiasm.
Boniface wanted everyone to know about and love Jesus and his Church. With the blessings of Pope St. Gregory II, he went as a missionary to the western part of Germany. St. Albinus, St. Abel and St. Agatha also helped him. Boniface preached with great success. He was gentle and kind. He was also a man of great courage.
Once, to prove that the pagan gods were false, he boldly went to a huge oak tree called the "oak of Thor." The pagans believed it was sacred to their gods. In front of a large crowd, Boniface took of his shirt and hacked the huge tree a few times with an axe bringing it down with a crash. Boniface stood on the trunk, and asked, "How stands your mighty god? My God is stronger than he." The pagans who expected their gods to punish Boniface for this act, realized that their gods were false when nothing happened to Boniface.
Everywhere he preached, people accepted Jesus, were baptized and joined the Church. In his lifetime, Boniface converted many people. He destroyed statues and temples of the pagan gods, and built churches and monasteries in those places.
In 732, the new pope, St. Gregory III made Boniface an archbishop and gave him another mission territory. It was Bavaria, which is part of Germany today. He and some companions went there to teach the people about the true faith. Here, too, the holy bishop was very successful.
Then, one day, he was at Freisland in Holland, preparing to confirm some converts. A group of fierce warriors swooped down on the camp. Boniface would not let his companions defend him. "Our Lord tells us to repay evil with good," he said. "The day has come for which I have waited so long. Trust in God and he will save us."
The Barbarians attacked, and Boniface was the first one killed and fifty-two newly converted Christians were also killed. He died a martyr on June 5, 754. As he wished, he was buried at the famous monastery he had started at Fulda, Germany.