Sunday, August 4, 2013


Early 16th century embroidery depicting the legend in which the Frisian king Radbod is ready to be baptized by Wulfram (in this embroidery replaced by Willibrord), but at the last moment refuses.  Museum Catharijneconvent, Utrecht

There is no wanderer of these early Middle Ages who journeyed across the sea and across mountains, through forest and wilderness, in perils of earth, in perils of robbers, in perils by the heathen, and among false brethren, more bravely than did Wynfrid, known to all by the name of Boniface.  There is no bishop who carried more faithfully the burden which came upon him daily, the care of all the churches of his mission to the Netherlands and to Germany.  There is no man who loved more his own country and his friends, his monastery and his books, or who with greater fortitude, left them all to organize the rising Christian life of Germany, to build there church and school and cloister, to tell of the Christian faith to unnumbered heathen of barbarian tribes, and finally to die at their hands.

It was the need of Frisia after the destruction of the Christian work by Radbod’s fury that called Wynfrid from the West Country of England in 716.

Cornelis Bloemaert;  St. Boniface, engraving, 1630, Fogg Museum, Cambridge, MA

From Eleanor Duckett, The Wandering Saints of the Early Middle Ages, New York, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1959

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