Wednesday’s People: Saints Lioba and Boniface

by Melanie on September 27, 2017

in Catholicism, Martyrs, Nonfiction, Saints, Sisterhood of Saints, Spirituality, Wednesday's Woman

Note: I’m currently featuring women saints who had notable relationships with male saints–their sons, husbands, fathers, or colleagues in faith.

The Basics: Lioba, born 710 in England; died 782 in Germany; feast day, September 28; canonized pre-congregation. Woman religious and evangelist. Boniface, born about 675 in England; died in 754 in the Netherlands; feast day, June 5; canonized pre-congregation. Bishop and evangelist.

The Story: Exactly how they were related isn’t clear; Boniface may have been Lioba’s maternal uncle, or a distant cousin. In any event, Lioba was still a child when Pope Gregory II sent Boniface to Germany to convert souls. Lioba became an oblate, then a nun near Dorset, England, known for her love of reading and intelligence. When she was thirty-eight or so, she came to Boniface’s aid, bringing thirty nuns with her. Not only was Lioba responsible for all the women religious that were part of the conversion effort, she also consulted with monks on their monastic rules, even becoming one of the few women allowed in their monasteries. She also maintained relationships with Charlemagne’s wife and other influential people of the day.

What We Can Learn from Lioba and Boniface:  Evangelization is a team sport. As powerful and Spirit-filled as Boniface was, Lioba’s special charisma contributed greatly to his success.

Wisdom About Lioba and Boniface: Boniface asked to have Lioba buried next to him “so we who with a like desire and devotion have served Christ here may side by side await the day of resurrection.” While they were not buried together, their remains near each other. Lioba wrote him in 732: “I eagerly pray … that I may be protected by the shield of your prayers from the poisoned darts of the hidden enemy.”

To Learn More About Lioba: Take a look at Life of Leoba by a near-contemporary, Rudolf of Fulda.

To Learn More About Other Women Saints and Blesseds: Come back next week, or consider buying my book, Sisterhood of Saints: Daily Guidance and Inspiration.

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