Boniface Wimmer and 18 companions came to America in 1846 and planted the seeds of the Benedictine Order in North America. This volume, edited by Jerome Oetgen, commemorates the 200th anniversary of Wimmer’s birth. This special bicentennial edition consists of translations and English originals of 200 of the most important of the more than 1500 letters the Archabbot wrote between 1832, the year he entered the Benedictine monastery of Metten in Bavaria, and his death in 1887. Born in Thalmassing, Germany, in 1809, Wimmer was a prolific letter writer who took great pains to inform his correspondents in the United States, Bavaria, and Rome of the progress of the Benedictine mission to America. In doing so, he brought into sharp focus Benedictine activities in the United States at a time when a historic surge in immigration was redefining the character of the American Catholic Church. These letters therefore contain a trove of information and insight not only about Wimmer and American Benedictine history but also about American Catholic history.
“This collection allows a wider reading public to have a choice sampling of a correspondence that is indispensable for understanding the history of Benedictine monasticism and the growth of American Catholicism in the nineteenth-century United States. Jerome Oetgen gives us the unmistakable voice of Boniface Wimmer and in the process dispels stereotypes and creates a more balanced and nuanced portrait of a commanding figure in modern Church history.”
—Father Joel Rippinger, O.S.B., Marmion Abbey, Illinois.