This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

February 19 -- Feast of St. Boniface of Lausanne

I was prepared to write about the early Renaissance painter Fra Angelico, also known as Giovanni of Fiesole, also known as Guido di Piero. He was beatified in 1982 and named patron of Catholic artists in 1984. However, nearly all sources agree that his feast is on February 18, not February 19, as Bangley's edition of Butler's Lives of the Saints has it. I was tempted to write about him anyway, but then I decided that it would be mere and sheer obstinacy; he can wait until next February. After all, he waited five hundred twenty-seven years for beatification.

So instead, let's turn our attention to someone who would rather be right than employed: St. Boniface of Lausanne. He started out his career teaching at the University of Paris, but left after a dispute involving profs and students resulted in boycotts of his classes. He must have been God-smart if not people-smart, because he was appointed Bishop of Lausanne two years later. He first got into it with the clergy working under him -- that always spills over into their congregants, who more often than not will back the local priests they know against the bishop they don't know.

Then he got into it with Emperor Frederick II, whose goons did not like their boss being criticized. Our Bonny Bishop was ambushed and beaten up; he asked the Pope for permission to resign and the Pope did not say no. Boniface ended his days as the chaplain to the same convent of nuns who had taught him before he went to Paris, reminding us all to be nice to people on your way to the top since you meet the same people on your way back down.


  1. Dear Mr. Major (SF. CA. 7:50 a.m.),

    Quite wonderful!––in the root sense of the word.

    There are more saints in heav'n and earth than
    Are dreamt of in our calendars:
    Spirits of the saints unknown to
    Us but cherished in the sight of
    God––Gracious Anonymities––
    Grant us an openness of the
    Spirit to the Holy Spirit.

  2. Hello - and thank you for this lovely piece on one of my favorite saints! I am wondering if you might be able to refer me to any source materials - from what documents, records or early books/writings do we know these facts about St. Boniface? And if you do not know, do you know where I could find this info? Thank you so much and God Bless. With Love, Maya

  3. Thanks for your kind comments, Maya. I can't say I recall what I was reading when I wrote this, but nearly all my sources were secondary. Good luck with tracking him down.